Anti-aging movement

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The anti-aging movement is a social movement devoted to eliminating or reversing aging, or reducing the effects of it.[1][2] A substantial portion of the attention of the movement is on the possibilities for life extension, but there is also interest in techniques such as cosmetic surgery which ameliorate the effects of aging rather than delay or defeat it.[3]

Two popular proponents of the anti-aging movement include Ray Kurzweil, who says humanity can defeat aging through the advance of technology,[4] and Aubrey De Grey, who says that the human body is a very complicated machine and thus, can be repaired indefinitely.[5] Other scientists and significant contributors to the movement include molecular biologists, geneticists, and biomedical gerontologists such as Gary Ruvkun, Cynthia Kenyon, and Arthur D. Levinson. However, figures in the gerontology community in 2003 tried to distance their research from the perceived pseudoscience of the movement.[6]

Anti-aging medicine[edit]

Anti-aging medicine has become a budding and rapidly growing medical specialty as physicians who initially sought treatment for themselves have received training and certification in its practice[1] by organizations such as the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) co-founded by Dr Robert M. Goldman and Ronald Klatz.

Human growth hormone[edit]

Central to anti-aging medicine is administration of human growth hormone.[7] Clinical studies have shown that low-dose growth hormone (GH) treatment for adults with GH deficiency changes the body composition by increasing muscle mass, decreasing fat mass, and increasing bone density and muscle strength. It also improves cardiovascular parameters (i.e. decrease of LDL cholesterol) and affects the quality of life without significant side effects.[8][9][10] However, it is also said to have potentially dangerous side-effects when used in injectable form, if proper protocols are not followed. It is not approved for use in healthy aging patients, though many have been using it for this reason for decades now. That restriction is sidestepped by means of a diagnosis of some injury, organic condition, or adult growth hormone deficiency[11] which supposedly has resulted in reduced secretion of the hormone.[12]

Menopausal hormone drugs[edit]

Administration of estrogen and other hormones such as progestin were popularized by the 1966 book Feminine Forever by Robert A. Wilson.[13] However, the increase of the use of estrogen was shown to be associated with an increased risk of cancer.[14] Later, in 2002, research into the long-term effects of estrogen on post-menopausal women, the Women’s Health Initiative, produced evidence that there were serious side effects.[15] Physicians who prescribe the hormones now prescribe low doses of the drugs. Research into the long-term effects of hormone replacement therapy is continuing, with a 2017 Cochrane systematic review concluding that long-term use may decrease the risk of bone fractures or postmenopausal osteoporosis, but increase the risk of stroke, heart attacks, endometrial cancer, and breast cancer.[16] Hormone therapy is generally only recommended for postmenopausal women who are at a high risk of osteoporosis when non-hormonal treatments are not suitable.[16] Hormone therapy is not suitable or advised for treating cardiovascular disease, dementia, or for preventing cognitive decline in postmenopausal women.[16] The risks of long-term hormonal therapy for women under 50 years of age have not been determined.[16]

Scientific approaches[edit]

Biogerontology is a scientific discipline which has the same area of interest but, as a branch of gerontology, takes a more conservative approach.[17]

Mass movement[edit]

A substantial fraction of older people, taking their cue from alternative medicine, purchase and use herbal supplements and other products which promise relief from the incidents and dangers of aging. Some products are not effective while others hold promise.[18]


There are at least two opposite views on the prospects of anti-aging research and development. One group states that there is a great deal of over-heated rhetoric in use with respect to life extension with over-optimistic projections on the part of its advocates. They also claim that there is little evidence that any significant breakthrough has been made, or is on the horizon.[19] Some state that, this is largely due to a current lack of funding or interest in the issue.[20] A study of the common supplements and hormone treatments used published in 2006 in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine showed that none of them are effective with respect to extending life.[21] Another group notices that recent scientific successes in rejuvenation and extending the lifespan of model animals (mice 2.5 times, yeast and nematodes 10 times)[22][failed verification] and discovery of variety of species (including humans of advanced ages) having negligible senescence give hope to achieve negligible senescence (cancel ageing) for younger humans, reverse ageing, or at least significantly delay it. Moreover, stopping or delaying aging should be a focus of the modern science and medicine since ageing is the major cause of mortality in the world.[23][24]

Though some scientists think curing aging is impossible, there are some criticisms of both the time frame life extensionists envision (the first, perhaps somewhat crude, treatments within the next several decades, or at least before the beginning of the 22nd century) and of whether curing aging is even desirable. Common criticisms of the idea of life extension are fears it will cause the world to be more overpopulated; however De Grey counters that by saying that since menopause would also be delayed, women could wait longer to have children and thus, the rate of growth would actually decline as a result. Also, the slowly growing population would buy centuries of time to figure out new places to live, such as space colonies.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Mykytyn, Courtney Everts (February 2006). "Anti-aging medicine: A patient/practitioner movement to redefine aging". Social Science & Medicine. 62 (3): 643–653. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2005.06.021. ISSN 0277-9536. PMID 16040177.
  2. ^ Vincent, John (2013). "The Anti-Aging Movement". In Schermer, Maartje; Pinxten, Wim (eds.). Ethics, Health Policy and (Anti-) Aging: Mixed Blessings. Springer Netherlands. p. 30. ISBN 978-94-007-3870-6. There have been a number of social movements associated with the reappraisal of age-based social categories in the last thirty years. Two such developments are the focus of this chapter. They are the Third Age movement and the Anti-aging movement. These movements present contrasting perspectives on the culturally devalued status of old age; the former seeks to celebrate old age, the latter to eliminate it.
  3. ^ Landman, Beth (12 December 2016). "The Future of Forever Young: 12 of the Latest Anti-Aging Treatments You Can Now Try". Archived from the original on 28 December 2016. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  4. ^ Craig Hamilton. "Chasing Immortality—The Technology of Eternal Life". Archived from the original on June 6, 2012. Retrieved May 26, 2012.
  5. ^ "Who is Aubrey de Grey?". Singularity Symposium. Archived from the original on 2012-05-02. Maybe it is because of his background in computer science that Dr. de Grey perceives the human body as a very complicated machine. Therefore, he argues that aging is primarily an engineering problem. Thus once we grasp all the finer details of our biological structure then the problem of aging becomes one of maintenance and just like today we are capable to maintain vintage cars or airplanes indefinitely he believes that eventually we'll be able to do so with our bodies.
  6. ^ Binstock, Robert (2003). "The War on "Anti-Aging Medicine"". The Gerontologist. 43 (1): 4–14. doi:10.1093/geront/43.1.4. PMID 12604740. Archived from the original on 2015-12-02. Leading members of the gerontological community have recently launched a war on anti-aging medicine, seeking to discredit what they judge to be fraudulent and harmful products and therapies, and to distinguish their research from what they regard as the pseudoscience of the anti-aging movement.
  7. ^ Ronald Klatz, Grow Young with HGH: The Amazing Medically Proven Plan to Reverse Aging Harper Paperbacks (May 8, 1998), trade paperback, 400 pages ISBN 0-06-098434-1 ISBN 978-0060984342
  8. ^ Alexopoulou O, Abs R, Maiter D (2010). "Treatment of adult growth hormone deficiency: who, why and how? A review". Acta Clinica Belgica. 65 (1): 13–22. doi:10.1179/acb.2010.002. PMID 20373593.
  9. ^ Ahmad AM, Hopkins MT, Thomas J, Ibrahim H, Fraser WD, Vora JP (June 2001). "Body composition and quality of life in adults with growth hormone deficiency; effects of low-dose growth hormone replacement". Clinical Endocrinology. 54 (6): 709–17. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2265.2001.01275.x. PMID 11422104.
  10. ^ Savine R, Sönksen P (2000). "Growth hormone - hormone replacement for the somatopause?". Hormone Research. 53 (Suppl 3): 37–41. doi:10.1159/000023531. PMID 10971102.
  11. ^ "Selling The Promise Of Youth" Archived January 4, 2010, at the Wayback Machine cover story Business Week March 20, 2006
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-03-04. Retrieved 2016-02-01.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) "Aging: Disease or Business Opportunity?"] article by Duff Wilson in The New York Times April 15, 2007
  13. ^ Robert A. Wilson, Feminine Forever, M. Evans and Company, Inc. (June 15, 1968), hardcover, ISBN 0-87131-049-X ISBN 978-0871310491
  14. ^ H Jick; A M Walker; K J Rothman (March 1980). "The epidemic of endometrial cancer: a commentary". American Journal of Public Health. 70 (3): 264–267. doi:10.2105/AJPH.70.3.264. PMC 1619376. PMID 7356090.
  15. ^ "Findings from the WHI Postmenopausal Hormone Therapy Trials". Women's Health Initiative. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Archived from the original on 2016-06-17.
  16. ^ a b c d Marjoribanks, Jane; Farquhar, Cindy; Roberts, Helen; Lethaby, Anne; Lee, Jasmine (2017). "Long-term hormone therapy for perimenopausal and postmenopausal women". The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 1: CD004143. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004143.pub5. ISSN 1469-493X. PMID 28093732.
  17. ^ "Anti-aging science: The emergence, maintenance, and enhancement of a discipline" article by Jennifer R. Fishman, Robert H. Binstock, and Marcie A. Lambrix in Journal of Aging Studies Volume 22, Issue 4, December 2008, Pages 295-303 doi:10.1016/j.jaging.2008.05.010
  18. ^ 'Health Products for Seniors: Archived 2010-01-06 at the Wayback Machine "Anti-Aging" Products Pose Danger for Physical and Economic Harm' report by the GAO September, 2001
  19. ^ Turner, Leigh (2004). "Biotechnology, bioethics and anti-aging interventions". Trends in Biotechnology. 22 (5): 219–221. doi:10.1016/j.tibtech.2004.03.008. PMID 15109806.
  20. ^ Archived from the original on March 18, 2013. Retrieved May 26, 2012. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  21. ^ Kamel, Nabil S; Julie Gammack; Oscar Cepeda; Joseph H Flaherty (2006). "Antioxidants and hormones as antiaging therapies: high hopes, disappointing results". Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 73 (12): 1049–1056, 1058. doi:10.3949/ccjm.73.12.1049. ISSN 0891-1150. PMID 17190308.
  22. ^ "Scientists' Open Letter on Aging Research". Archived from the original on 2015-04-29.
  23. ^ Lopez, Alan D; Mathers, Colin D; Ezzati, Majid; Jamison, Dean T; Murray, Christopher JL (2006). "Global and regional burden of disease and risk factors, 2001: Systematic analysis of population health data". The Lancet. 367 (9524): 1747–57. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(06)68770-9. PMID 16731270.
  24. ^ Brunet Lab: Molecular Mechanisms of Longevity and Age Related Diseases Archived 2016-03-05 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 11 April 2012.
  25. ^ Gavrilov, Rejuvenation Res. 2010 Apr; 13(2-3): 329–334. "Demographic Consequences of Defeating Aging"

Further reading[edit]

  • Arking R, Butler R, Chiko B, Fossel M, Gavrilov LA, Morley JE, Olshansky SJ, Perls T, Walker RF. Anti-aging teleconference: What is anti-aging medicine? Journal of Anti-Aging Medicine [Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.]. 6(2): 91-106, 2003
  • De Grey, Aubrey D. N.; Gavrilov, Leonid; Olshansky, S. Jay; Coles, L. Stephen; Cutler, Richard G.; Fossel, Michael; Harman, S. Mitchell (2002). "Antiaging technology and pseudoscience. Letter". Science. 296: 656.
  • Gavrilov, L.A. (2002). "Scientific legitimacy of the term "Anti-Aging". Journal of Anti-Aging Medicine. 5 (2): 239–240. doi:10.1089/10945450260195685.