More on the A4M - Olshansky Lawsuit

I'll start by saying that I've talked on this topic before, so you should probably head back into the archives to get the background. (I should probably note that I'm far less down on S. Jay Olshansky than I was in October of last year, but my thoughts on A4M are much the same now as then). You can see a summary of the latest press at The Raw Story:

The defamation case is an almost unheard-of attempt to punish academics for comments made in their professional capacity, said experts on libel law and academic freedom. Although UIC is not a defendant in the suit, officials there said they are so concerned about protecting scholarly speech that the school is picking up Olshansky's legal bills.


The plaintiffs, osteopathic physicians Ronald Klatz and Robert Goldman, say the 1st Amendment's free speech protections do not cover the actions of Olshansky and co-defendant Dr. Thomas Perls of Boston University. Klatz and Goldman blame the defendants' criticism for a series of recent professional setbacks, including cancellation of an anti-aging conference to have been held this month in Singapore, and termination of a contract to develop anti-aging products that could have been worth $20 million.

I will say that I think it's quite right to be calling out A4M if we feel - as many do - that they are doing just what they accuse obvious frauds in the "anti-aging" marketplace of doing: putting money before ethics and scientific backing, or promoting dubious claims. A4M is a business, and a business with the potential to do a great deal of good for the healthy life extension cause. If they are not living up to that potential, then we as consumers need to stand up and make sure we are being heard - getting businesses to act responsibly is a great deal easier than getting politicians to do the same, after all:

Even those for-profits that cater largely to other businesses - such as A4M - are a great deal more responsive to public opinion (as expressed in dollars and page views) than anything else you might find out there. You can pass on your opinion loud and clear by being an educated, aware, vocal customer. Vote with your wallet; don't buy products branded as "anti-aging." Write outraged letters to businesses that are clearly jumping on the "anti-aging" bandwagon and insulting your intelligence. Support medical research and organizations that take a responsible attitude towards longevity and aging research. Talk loudly about your choices as a consumer and why you are making them - ultimately, those business ventures that succeed determine the look of an entire market. We - people like you and I - decide which business ventures succeed via our choice of where to spend our time and money.
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