The existence of actual, working rejuvenation therapies will eventually chase out the fraud and lies from the "anti-aging" marketplace, and what will be left is just plain old medicine - but much better, more advanced medicine than we have today. This will take years, however, and the established hucksters will continue to have a fine old time on their way out. They will continue to cherry-pick studies, cloak the junk that doesn't work in a thin veneer of science, mimicking the voices and marketing of legitimate ventures. The basic lie that is loudly propagated by the "anti-aging" business, that their products can make a difference, has been spoken for so long that is accepted as a part of the tapestry of society. Few people can bring themselves to be irate about it these days. It is another part of the ridiculous nonsense that we are subjected to on a daily basis.
This does mean, however, that anyone entering the realm of longevity science, whether wanting to improve their health or make a difference in the pace of progress, is faced with a much tougher uphill battle than should be the case. How to distinguish the lies of the "anti-aging" marketplace from the real science given no background in the field? How to pick out research projects and classes of therapy with a high expectation value from those that are good science that cannot possibly greatly influence the aging process? For every advocate who tries to help by presenting a realistic view of the field, there are twenty paid shills out there trying to persuade the world that blueberries hold back aging, or that apple stem cells are medically useful - or whatever the product they are selling today might be, regardless of the facts.
Now that we are starting to see the arrival of actual therapies aimed at targeting the processes of aging directly in order to prevent age-related diseases, it has become easier to separate two very distinct groups.
The first group consists of the snake oil salesmen peddling unproven supplements and therapies to whoever is foolish enough to buy and take things on faith without using the scientific method. The hucksters have long been a plague on our field, preying on the gullible and tainting legitimate science with their charlatanry and nonsense. One example is the "biotech company" that makes bold claims yet never delivers on those claims in practice, offering data based on poorly designed experiments and tiny cohorts that are statistically irrelevant; another example is the supplement peddler selling expensive supplement blends with flashy names, which, on inspection, turn out to be commonly available herbs and minerals mixed and sold at a high markup. These sorts of people have plagued our community and given the field a reputation of snake oil.
The second group are the credible scientists, researchers, and companies who have been working on therapies for years and sometimes more than a decade. Many of these therapies are following the damage repair approach advocated by Dr. Aubrey de Grey of the SENS Research Foundation over a decade ago. The basic idea is to take an engineering approach to the damage that aging does to the body and to periodically repair that damage in order to keep its level below that which causes pathology. These therapies are now starting to arrive, with some already in human trials right now, and this marks a milestone in our field: the credible science has finally outstripped the snake oil, and the focus can move from pseudoscience to real, evidence-based science.
While it will be some years yet before all therapies to end age-related diseases are here and available, and the hucksters are still peddling their wares, you can arm yourself with knowledge and protect yourself and our community from these people. Learn to evaluate science rather than taking things at face value, and avoid expensive scams and bad science.
Was the claim first announced through mass media or through scientific channels? Are the claimants transparent about their testing, and is there sufficient published data for reproduction? A properly developed technology will take years of development to reach release; is there a clear paper trail of studies and clinical trials supporting it? How good is the quality of data supporting the claim, and is it of statistical significance? Are the claimants reputable, and are they published in credible journals? The snake oil sellers will be with us for a few years yet, but by working together as a community and thinking critically about claims, we can help filter these people out and ultimately clean up the field for the benefit of legitimate scientists working on the real solutions to aging that will benefit us all.