Spam Filters and the Longevity Meme Newsletter

I received a short and interesting education in what the most popular spam filters are up to last night while attempting to send out the latest Longevity Meme newsletter. You'll note that near the end, it contains the following text:

The article that was here had to be cut out in order for this e-mail newsletter to pass the most common spam filters - an unfortunate consequence of the prevalence of certain products in spam e-mail. You can read the original at the link above.

The post that I had to redact from the newsletter reads as follows:

Responsible Comments On HGH (Monday April 19 2004)

As I remarked in a Fight Aging! post a few days ago, it's hard to find unbiased information about human growth hormone (HGH). Salesmen from the "anti-aging" marketplace and people with agendas have crowded out the few qualified, responsible voices. That said, I'm happy to see a sane, balanced article on HGH by Judith Reichman at MSNBC. It gives a good overview of the science, the uncertainties, hazards, and possible benefits. Her conclusion is the same as mine: "Until we get more scientific information, I do not recommend that HGH be used for women who are healthy, but just getting older (and heavier). If you want to spend that kind of money, invest in better researched paths to better looks and longevity."

This is a good illustration of one part of the problem caused by all the eager beavers out there in the "anti-aging" marketplace attempting to profit from the intersection of spam, dubious science, and the human desire for real solutions to the problem of aging - legitimate discussion of human growth hormone and anti-aging medicine is now not going to get past the spam filters.

We can extend this technical problem out to become a useful analogy: we humans all run a form of spam filter in our day to day lives, filtering out junk as we figure out what is good and what is not. The light and noise from the less reputable end of the anti-aging marketplace - cremes, dubious science, fraudulent claims, and so forth - is causing many people to consign any thought of legitimate anti-aging research to the spam bucket. This is a bad thing.


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