American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine official response statement to February 12, 2002 “silver fleece awards target anti-aging hype” – A4M Responds
(University of Illinois News Release, February 12, 2002)
The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) submits the following statement in response to Mr. Olshansky’s statements of February 12, 2002.
Anti-aging medicine is the fastest-growing medical specialty throughout the world and is founded on the application of advanced scientific and medical technologies for the early detection, prevention, treatment, and reversal of age-related dysfunction, disorders, and diseases. It is a healthcare model promoting innovative science and research to prolong the healthy lifespan in humans. As such, anti-aging medicine is based on principles of sound and responsible medical care that are consistent with those applied in other preventive health specialties. Anti-aging medicine is scientifically based and well documented in leading medical journals.
A4M is a non-profit educational, medical organization dedicated to the scientific premise that diseases and disabilities of human aging are largely preventable, treatable, and perhaps even reversible. A4M has devoted itself to educating thousands of doctors and other professionals in the health-related field throughout the world in the area of anti-aging. A4M presents annual educational programs, written materials, and ongoing updates to keep professionals aware of the progress being made throughout the world on anti-aging medicine.
A4M disseminates information on many types of medical treatments, does not promote or endorse any specific treatment, and does not sell or endorse any commercial product. We serve as an advocate for this new science and as a conduit to physicians, scientists and the educated public who wish to benefit from the almost daily breakthroughs in biotechnology which promise both a greater quality as well as quantity of life. We continue to be committed to working to develop an ethical marketplace in which vendors and manufacturers supply independent scientific validation for all products and claims made.
In contrast, Mr. Olshansky is part of a “multi-billion dollar gerontological machine” that, without any basis in truth or fact, seeks to discredit tens of thousands of innovative, honest, world-class scientists, physicians, and health practitioners. Mr. Olshansky seems to prefer to trumpet meaningless circus-like sideshow awards accompanied by misleading and untrue statements. Mr. Olshansky is not a physician and has no medical training in aging intervention. He is a statistician and exceeds his capacity as a non-clinician. The inescapable conclusion drawn from Mr. Olshansky’s action is that they are done for his own personal gain. Mr. Olshansky’s denial of the value of anti-aging medicine flies in the face of thousands of published research studies validating preventive medicine, nutritional medicine, sports medicine, advanced diagnostics and early screenings, and advanced biotechnologies.
Mr. Olshansky seems to fall into the unfortunate category of marketers who have little regard for the integrity of the science of anti-aging medicine. Such salespeople look to hype recent developments in this field to sell their own products and books, some of which have questionable value and are of limited clinical worth. To combat unscrupulous marketing of nutritional and healthcare products, the A4M was the first organization to instigate three separate programs to protect the public from unsupportable activities by marketers. These include:
A4M Blue Ribbon Panel: Recently, attention has been given in the press and on Capitol Hill to the dubious claims by some who are marketing anti-aging products. A4M supports the efforts of those who seek to expose fraudulent commercial activities but also believes that there are many legitimate and beneficial anti-aging products. A4M believes that the best way to protect the public from fraudulent claims is by educating consumers. A4M also believes that the anti-aging marketplace should begin to regulate itself. To enable it to do so, A4M believes that ethical guidelines should be established for anti-aging product marketing. Accordingly, A4M has established a panel to consider and promulgate such guidelines. The committee is composed of medical ethicists, physicians, scientists and business leaders.
Consumer Education & Research Council (CERC): Established in 1999, the four-point mission of CERC is as follows:
* Expose anti-aging product marketing practices that may be misleading or deceptive
* Educate consumers about what they should expect from anti-aging healthcare products
* Create a forum for sharing anti-aging health product information
* Identify and give special recognition to the most reputable products
Advisories: In an ongoing effort to warn the public of dubious marketing efforts of fraudulent and unscrupulous vendors, the A4M regularly issues advisories at its website, The World Health Network (www.worldhealth.net). In July 2001, A4M issued an alert titled “Beware Bait-and-Switch Nutritionals: Marketing that Misrepresents Scientific Growth Hormone Research.” It warned the public of misleading claims being made by nutritional HGH manufacturers and vendors whereby they confuse research validating injectable HGH replacement therapy as validating nutritional products.
Examples of published research documenting the validity of early detection, prevention, treatment, and reversal of age-related diseases include:
Synthetic Antioxidant May Slow Diabetes: Results of an experiment on mice have shown that a synthetic antioxidant molecule can slow the progression of type I diabetes. Researchers found that the molecule, which mimics a naturally occurring molecule, was able to slow or even prevent the death of cells that the body uses to produce the hormone insulin. Results showed that 100% of the mice given the antioxidant remained diabetes-free for 21 days, and 50% still showed no signs of the disease four weeks later. However, all of the ‘control’ mice became diabetic by day 13 of the experiment. The researchers hope that this molecule, and others like it, could be used to treat other autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. [Diabetes 2002 Feb; 51(2):347-355]
New Test Spots Alzheimer’s before Symptoms Start: Californian scientists are developing a new imaging technique that could make it possible for doctors to detect Alzheimer’s-related brain changes before the onset of symptoms. At present, Alzheimer’s is diagnosed clinically and a definite diagnosis is not possible until after the patient has died. However, Dr. Jorge R. Barrio and colleagues from the University of California report that they have been able to detect the plaques and tangles associated with the disease in the brains of living people by using a new chemical marker called FDDNP, and the imaging technique positron emission tomography (PET). Preliminary studies revealed that higher levels of FDDNP were seen to accumulate in memory-related areas of Alzheimer’s patients’ brains. If further trials provide positive results, the new technique could be used to test people deemed at high risk of developing the neurodegenerative disease. [American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 2002;10]
Simple Test Spots Diabetes: Researchers have developed a quick and easy test that could help to identify the five million or more US citizens thought to have undiagnosed type II diabetes. The test, called hemoglobin Alc (HbAlc), enables doctors to determine a patient’s average blood sugar levels over the previous 2 to 3 months without the need for fasting. The most accurate test for diabetes is the fasting plasma glucose test, however trial results showed that the more practical HbAlc test can spot cases that may otherwise go undetected. [Journal of General Internal Medicine 202;17;1-7]
Shedding Just a Few Pounds Can Cut Heart Risks: A recent study by a team of Italian researchers has found that obese people can significantly lower their risk of heart disease by losing a modest amount of weight. Obesity is known to increase levels of proteins called cytokines, which can cause inflammation. High levels of inflammatory proteins like interleukin6 (IL-6) can significantly increase a person’s risk of heart disease as inflammation can damage the arterial wall. However, a study by Dr. Dario Giugliano and his colleagues revealed that obese people can significantly reduce their levels of these proteins, and thus reduce their risk of heart disease, by losing as little as 10% of their body weight. Study results showed that shedding a few pounds resulted in cytokine levels returning to near-normal, even though the participants did not lose all of their excess weight. [Circulation 2002; 105]
Daily Multivitamin Boosts Senior’s Immune System: Seniors may be able to safeguard themselves from infections by taking a daily vitamin supplement, says Dr. Kevin P. High, who recently carried out a review on the benefits of nutritional supplements for the elderly. High concluded that men and women aged 65 and over can help to boost their immune system by taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement, and further supplements to increases their daily intake of selenium to 100 micrograms (mcg), zinc to 20 milligrams (mg), and vitamin E to 200 mg. Results of several scientific studies have shown that taking such supplements may help to give the immune system a boost, increase the body’s response to vaccines, and help to protect against infection. [Clinical Infectious Diseases 2001;33:1892-1900]
Uncoupling Proteins Slow Aging; A group of UK scientists have found a number of chemicals that protect the body from the effects of cell-damaging free radical molecules that are believed to play a major role in age-related illnesses and cellular aging. Dr. Martin Brand and his colleagues identified a number of chemicals, called uncoupling proteins, which appear to move free radicals from sensitive areas of the cell to other areas where they can be dealt with without harming the cell. Experts think that people who have low levels of uncoupling proteins may be at increased risk of developing age-related diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and cancer, because their cells find it difficult to neutralize free radicals. The findings suggest that it may be possible to slow down cellular aging with drugs that activate genes that produce uncoupling proteins. [Nature 2002 Jan 3; 415(6867):96-9]
Childhood Vaccinations May Lower Alzheimer’s Risk: A recent study by scientists from a Canadian university has found no evidence to support claims that childhood vaccinations for polio, tetanus, and diphtheria increase a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Previous research has suggested that immune system changes caused by certain vaccinations could increase the risk of developing age-related conditions like Alzheimer’s, however instead of supporting this theory the new study actually found that people who receive one or all of the vaccines may be less likely to develop the neurodegenerative disease. Study results showed that people who were given the tetanus or diphtheria vaccine were 60% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s, and those who had the polio vaccine were 40% less likely to develop the disease. [Canadian Medical Association Journal 2001; 165:1495-1498]
Healthy Diet May Lower Dementia Risk: Eating a healthy diet may help to lower the risk of developing dementia, say researchers. The study of more than 1,600 elderly people found that those who ate a low-fat balanced diet were the least likely to suffer from cognitive problems. Results also suggested that consuming moderate amounts of alcohol may boost mental capacity. Although it is unclear as to how eating healthily helps to preserve cognitive function, researchers speculate that antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E may be important. [European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2001;55:1053-1058]
Folic Acid May Lower Stomach Cancer Risk: Eating foods that contain high levels of folic acid or taking a daily supplement of the vitamin may help to lower the risk of stomach cancer, according to results of a recent study in China. Researchers found that animals treated with a cancer-inducing chemical were significantly less likely to develop stomach cancer if they were given a daily dose of folic acid. Results showed that 100% of animals treated only with the cancer-inducing chemical developed stomach cancer, whereas just 37.5% of those who also received 20 milligrams of folic acid each day developed the disease. [Gut 2002;50:61-64]
Exercise Cuts Middle-Aged Men’s Cancer Risk: Exercising just two or three times a week can significantly reduce middle-aged men’s risk of developing a number of cancers, according to researchers. The 19-yearlong study of more than 7,500 men found that men who undertook moderately vigorous or vigorous exercise two or more times each week were 24% less likely to develop any type of cancer and 62% less likely to develop cancer of the upper digestive tract. However, there was a downside to the results as regular exercisers were 79% more likely to develop bladder cancer. The researchers say that they believe there is now enough evidence to “justify the addition of cancer to the list of major chronic disorders likely to have their development postponed or prevented by regular physical activity.” [British Journal of Cancer 2001;85:1311-1316]
Aspirin Lowers Stroke-Related Damage: Researchers have found that tiny doses of aspirin appear to protect against the damage caused by ischemic strokes. Study findings showed that those who took just a single aspirin in the week before they suffered an ischemic stroke were significantly less likely to sustain severe stroke-related damage. The study of more than 1,200 patients revealed that 10% of aspirintakers suffered severe strokes, compared with 15% of non-users. Previous studies have found that the drug reduces the risk of stroke, and these results suggest that the drug may also help to lessen their severity. [Stroke 2001;31]
The demographic trends of increased longevity in America and the majority of developed nations (as resulting from anti-aging interventions including nutrition, exercise, and early detection) and the wide-ranging improvements in quality of life are indisputable. To deny these facts offered by the new clinical medical specialty of anti-aging medicine defies basic logic.
Amer. Academy of Anti-Aging Med.
2415 North Greenview
Chicago, Illinois 60814 USA
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