"...and here is something you can buy."

As this press release promoting one of the A4M conferences demonstrates, many in the "anti-aging" marketplace are quite hip to the latest science. They read, they stay abreast, they even advocate - the problem is that this is a post-hoc process that always leads to "and here is something you can buy today that will help slow the aging process." This is either a lie or - at the most generous - willful self-delusion. Even calorie restriction is not proven to extend healthy life span in humans - it's just very likely to do so based on the vast weight of evidence to date acquired over decades of scientific inquiry. This weight of evidence is sorely lacking for every product or methology touted by the "anti-aging" marketeers. To prove a slowing (or reversal) of age-related damage we would need either working biomarkers of aging (which we don't have) or wait until people keel over and count the years (which we don't have the luxury of time to do, since we'd be the ones keeling over).

There are plenty of products, techniques and lifestyle choices out there that can fight or help prevent specific - or even multiple or whole classes of - age-related disease. Selling these things for those purposes is in no way unhelpful or unethical. Do any of them "slow the aging process?" What does that phrase even mean in these days of far greater understanding of age-related damage at the genetic and biomolecular level?

Beyond this, all the definitions get nebulous once you start splitting hairs to put together a good marketing campaign based on this "anti-aging" brand. Can you use the Reliability Theory of aging to justify any healthcare or preventative medicine as "anti-aging?" Which averaged-out gains in individual life span count? Fixing heart disease? Better nursing care for the elderly? At some point it all becomes meaningless - especially if your goal is to sell something you happen to have in stock and that cannot be proven effective.

For the consumers reading this: there aren't any silver bullets out there, and you do yourself a disservice by chasing around looking for one. If you want to live a longer, healthier life, then take care of the health basics (exercise, modest supplementation, weight), practice calorie restriction and support medical research into working anti-aging medicine. Especially the latter. It isn't rocket science, it isn't any different from patient advocacy for other medical conditions - we just aren't there yet, and the only we'll see rejuvenation technologies and greatly extended healthy life spans in our lifetime is through advocacy, public support and major research funding.

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