Advocates of what has become known as antiaging medicine claim that it is now possible to slow, stop or reverse aging through existing medical and scientific interventions.21,22,23,24,25,26 Claims of this kind have been made for thousands of years,27 and they are as false today as they were in the past.28,29,30,31 Preventive measures make up an important part of public health and geriatric medicine, and careful adherence to advice on nutrition, exercise and smoking can increase ones chances of living a long and healthy life, even though lifestyle changes based on these precautions do not affect the processes of aging.32,33The more dramatic claims made by those who advocate antiaging medicine in the form of specific drugs, vitamin cocktails or esoteric hormone mixtures are, however, not supported by scientific evidence, and it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that these claims are intentionally false, misleading or exaggerated for commercial reasons.34 The misleading marketing and the public acceptance of antiaging medicine is not only a waste of health dollars; it has also made it far more difficult to inform the public about legitimate scientific research on aging and disease.35 Medical interventions for age-related diseases do result in an increase in life expectancy, but none have been proved to modify the underlying processes of aging. The use of cosmetics, cosmetic surgery, hair dyes and similar means for covering up manifestations of aging may be effective in masking age changes, but they do not slow, stop or reverse aging. At present there is no such thing as an antiaging intervention.

21Chopra D. Grow younger, live longer: 10 steps to reverse aging. Harmony Books: New York; 2001.

22Klatz R. Grow young with HGH: The amazing medically proven plan to reverse aging. Harper Perennial Library; 1998.

23Brickey MP. Defy aging: Develop the mental and emotional vitality to live longer, healthier, and happier than you ever imagined. New Resources Press; 2000.

24Carper J. Stop aging now!: The ultimate plan for staying young and reversing the aging process. Harper perennial Library; 1996.

25Null G, Campbell A. Gary Null's ultimate anti-aging program. Broadway Books; 1999.

26Pierpaoli W, Regelson W, Colman C. The melatonin miracle. Simon and Schuster: New York; 1995.

27Gerald J. Gruman, A history of ideas about the prolongation of life. Trans Amer Phil Soc. 1966;56(9):1-102.

28Austad S. Why we age: What science is discovering about the body's journey through life. John Wiley & Sons: New York; 1999.

29Holliday R. Understanding ageing. Cambridge University Press; 1995.

30Arking R. Biology of aging: Observations and principles, 2nd edition. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, MA.; 1998.

31Arking R. The Biology of aging: What is it and when will it become useful? Infertility and Reproductive Medicine Clinics of North America. 2001;12:469-487.

32Fries JF. Aging, natural death, and the compression of morbidity. N Engl J Med. 1980;303:130-135.

33Rogers RG, Hummer RA, and Nam CB. Living and dying in the USA: Behavioral, health, and social differentials of adult mortality. Academic Press; 2000.

34Olshansky SJ, Carnes BA. The quest for immortality: Science at the frontiers of aging. Norton: New York; 2001.

35Miller R. Extending life: Scientific prospects and political obstacles. Milbank Q (in press).

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