Anti-Aging Lawsuits Now

A4M appears to be suing some conservative gerontologists for defamation:

They've been called quacks and embarrassments to the scientific community, doctors who use "pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo" to persuade people to give them their money.

Now, they're fighting back.

The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and its Chicago founders, Drs. Robert Goldman and Ronald Klatz, are suing professors from the University of Illinois-Chicago and Harvard University, alleging they have trashed their reputations in an effort to discredit their anti-aging works.

S. Jay Olshansky and Thomas Perls are the targets of the $150 million lawsuit filed last week in Cook County Circuit Court.

Goldman and Klatz say Olshansky and Perls are on "a witchhunt" and making "false statements" about their academy. They also say that while at an Australian conference this year, Olshansky presented the group with a mock award -- "The Silver Fleece" -- which was a bottle of oil with a "Snake Oil" label.

Told of the lawsuit by the Chicago Sun-Times, UIC's Olshansky made no apologies for his mockery.

"There is no evidence to show there is anything that will slow, modify, reverse or stop the aging process," Olshansky said. "Anyone who says otherwise doesn't have the evidence to support it."

This should be interesting. As you may recall, I have my issues with both sides of this fight. I see A4M as being too closely entangled with the fraudulent, study-picking, disreputable side of the anti-aging marketplace. I view conservative gerontologists like Olshansky as propagating an irresponsible, self-fulfulling pessimistic view of the possibilities offered by serious anti-aging research. Both sides are damaging the potential for progress just as much as they are helping things along.

You can see more on this topic and why the two sides are fighting in the first place at the Longevity Meme:

The war over the meaning of "anti-aging" is being fought over money and the perception of legitimacy. It is this perception of legitimacy that determines funding for scientific research and revenues for businesses. Scientists feel, quite rightly, that the noise and nonsense coming from the anti-aging marketplace is damaging the prospects for serious, scientific anti-aging research. If everyone knows that anti-aging means high-priced cream from Revlon marketed to the gullible and brand-aware, no scientist is going to get funding for a serious proposal in aging research that uses the word "anti-aging." Worse than that, people start to assume that real efforts to reverse aging must be impossible - and large scale science requires public support and understanding.

Businesses in the "anti-aging" marketplace make money from the aura of legitimacy whether or not their products perform as advertised, and so a lot of effort is expended to create and maintain this perception of legitimacy. Those businesspeople with working, accurately marketed products carry out their own fight against opportunists, frauds and "marketeers" - businesses that are damaging the market and diluting the brand. Ironically, this is much the same argument used against the more legitimate businesses by scientists.

One can hope that at the very least this lawsuit will manage to get the two sides to agree that they are talking about very different things when they say "anti-aging":

For the scientific community, anti-aging research refers exclusively to slowing, preventing, or reversing the aging process. There is, as of 2004, no medical technology that allows this to be done - although the jury is still out on calorie restriction in humans. Nor is there any currently available method (short of waiting for people to die) to accurately measure the effects of an alleged anti-aging therapy.

In the medical and more reputable business community, anti-aging medicine means early detection, prevention, and reversal of age-related diseases. This is quite different from tackling the aging process itself, and a wide array of strategies and therapies are currently available. Calorie restriction, for example, is a demonstrated way to lower risk for a wide range of age-related degenerative conditions.

The wider business community - including a great many fraudulent and frivolous ventures - views "anti-aging" as a valuable brand and a demonstrated way to increase sales. At the worse end of the scale, this leads to snake oil salesmen, "anti-aging" cremes that may or may not make your skin look younger, and infomercials that tout the "anti-aging" benefits of exercise machines. Broadly, and very charitably, we can look at these varied definitions of anti-aging as meaning "to look and feel younger in some way" - which has no bearing on how long you live or how healthy you actually are.

Some onlookers may find it ironic that, putting the merits of their chosen methodologies to one side, the founders of A4M are far more invested in seeing working anti-aging medicine become a reality than most conservative gerontologists.

Comments

I was just on your site and found much of it informative. I also agree with your general goal of attacking aging.

However, your link to "stem cells" is misleading.

You promote the agenda of those who want to use embryonic stem cell research to create a market for aborted flesh when the number of actual breakthroughs are from the use of "adult" sources!

Please stop carrying water for the abortion crowd. Adult stem cells hold much more promise, and they don't suffer shortcoming of harvesting the human flesh of future generations to prolong the life of this generation.

Posted by: BB at August 10th, 2004 9:39 AM

I am quite clear in my discussions on stem cells that I support both embryonic and adult stem cell research. Adult stem cell research is further along in human trials because it has been far easier to get these trials organized and funded in the present political climate.

You can restrict, threaten and try to ban a technology and then claim that it isn't going anywhere (and thus should be banned) - but expect to be called on that dishonest approach. I understand why you oppose embryonic stem cell research, but please try to be open about your motivations and acknowledge that the research is viable.

When you look at animal studies, it is quite clear that both embryonic and adult stem cell based research have potential. Embryonic stem cell based therapies have been used to treat the mouse versions of Parkinson's, nerve damage and diabetes. Adult therapies have been used to treat heart disease, nerve damage and forms of blindness.

Posted by: Reason at August 10th, 2004 11:38 AM

I want to see as many different groups as possible working on the aging problem A4M is a pretty large umbrella, containing researchers, physicians, and interested laymen. Their approach to aging is extremely broad, and flexible. I don't see them delaying progress.

Posted by: Conrad at August 10th, 2004 12:51 PM

I disagree with your statement : "For the scientific community, anti-aging research refers exclusively to slowing, preventing, or reversing the aging process. There is, as of 2004, no medical technology that allows this to be done - although the jury is still out on calorie restriction in humans. Nor is there any currently available method (short of waiting for people to die) to accurately measure the effects of an alleged anti-aging therapy."

There absolutely WAS as of 2004, and there still are now, October 2005, SEVERAL medical technologies and therapies that will TEMPORARILY REVERSE the SIGNS of aging.

By this, I mean: there are several therapies that can help you temporarily to LOSE WEIGHT, GAIN MUSCLES, REGAIN STRENGTH, INCREASE ENERGY, STRENGTHEN THE IMMUNE SYSTEM, STOP OR DECREASE LOSS OF HAIR, DECREASE OR VANISH SKIN WRINKLES, TIGHTEN SKIN, INCREASE OXYGENIZATION, INCREASE CIRCULATION, etc.

The effects are "temporary" because nothing can be "permanent" if you do not continue to work at it. But you can extend the time that it works by continuing to take the treatment or therapy.

I do not know what are the "long term effects" of following all or some of these therapies, and I might suspend the use of some of them, but I intend to find out, on my own body. I have followed my own anti aging program every single day, several times each day, for nearly eight years, and I intend to follow my program until I see it is not working.

In the meantime: it works!

Briefly, my personal program is:

1. Correct Diet (to control blood glucose)
2. Exercise
3. Vitamins
4. Skin care
5. Get rid of parasites
6. Get rid of toxic metals
7. Hormone replacement therapy
8. Take care of the Brain and Nervous System

I am not sure if reversing the outer and inner signs of aging amounts to REVERSING AGING... but I am certain that it IMPROVES THE QUALITY OF LIFE. It certainly does NOT change the date on one's BIRTH CERTIFICATE... but IT MIGHT postpone or hasten the date on one's DEATH CERTIFICATE...

There is not much evidence that injectible growth hormone, for example, has hastened the date on many death certificates of the hundreds of thousands of persons who are taking HGH under the supervision of anti-aging doctors... and so it is probable that it either leaves the date alone, or it extends it.

And... I repeat... there is not only ONE way to achieve some of all of these signs of age reversals... There are SEVERAL therapies that can do the same or several... Among them I can mention PLASTIC SURGERY, (makes wrinkles disappear), hyperbaric oxygen (repairs the nervous system, improves the circulatory system), injectible human growth hormone (increases energy, decreases fat, increases muscle mass, etc.), EPO (increases red blood cells and consequent oxygenization), insulin (improves blood glucose response), testosterone (increases sexual abilities, increases muscle mass).

I put PLASTIC SURGERY at the front of my list above just to prove a point: although it is only cosmetic, there is NO DOUBT that plastic surgery can temporarily REVERSE a SIGN OF AGING, ie: wrinkles disappear (and of course, many other signs of aging can temporarily be reversed through plastic surgery.)

Ellis Toussier
("the guy in Mexico who helps you to stay young")
http://www.rajeun.com/rejuvenation.html

Posted by: Ellis Toussier at October 28th, 2005 6:02 AM

Ellis, you are a good example of someone who, like Klatz, is well-meaning but following a poor path to the desired end goal. Your "signs" are superficial (i.e. you make no mention of age-related biochemical and cellular damage that is the root of degeneration) and none of the methodologies you mention have a good weight of evidence behind them to support their use in any given individual. Consider that many people have tried these things and we aren't swimming in supercentenarians today. Pulling levers without knowledge of what will happen - and with a fair surity that it's never going to do as much good as the medicine of the future - is a risky business, though of course people should be free to do so if they so choose.

Posted by: Reason at October 28th, 2005 10:08 AM

"Reason" you are a good example of someone who, like Jay Olshansky, Thomas Perls, and Shlomo Melamed insist that we cannot reverse aging, while those of us who insist that we can reverse aging are reversing the signs of aging.

I have only been using growth hormone since I was age 52, and I will be 66 years old in two weeks, so I can't be a centenarian for another 34 years, and a super centenarian in 44 years.

But I am a super-healthy 66 year old. I laugh when I get a "Senior Citizen" discount because I am not weak, I am not slow, I am not depressed and fat and wrinkled.

So although I agree that this could be "risky business" it would also be "risky business" NOT to follow my program which includes growth hormone and other hormones, and other anti-aging therapies such as hyperbaric oxygen (which is very good for the nervous system) to do what I think prevents telomeres from getting shorter and perhaps repairs telomeres and makes them longer... and prevents the signs of aging from occurring in my body.

I have seen men much younger than me sitting in rocking chairs in senior citizen homes, and I am still rock and rolling. I have already used growth hormone since I was age 52 and I haven't died of cancer yet... in fact, I have not even had A COLD in 14 years.

In any case, thank you for agreeing that we should be free to try to stay young if we so choose. I live in Mexico, and I AM FREE to choose to buy and use growth hormone, which I buy legally and without need of a doctor's permission. And there is no national medical emergency because of this, and I hope more homeruns are hit.

Growing old is better than the alternative: dying young....
But staying young is better than the alternative: growing old.

Ellis Toussier

Posted by: Ellis Toussier at July 29th, 2011 4:28 AM

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