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June 19 , 2007

Selling the Fountain of Youth

How the Anti-Aging Industry Made a Disease Out of Getting Old-And Made Billions


The beauty industry—which once revolved around creams and powders, subtle agents to enhance beauty—has become the anti-aging industry, overrun with steroids, human growth hormone injections, and “bio-identical” hormones—all promoted as “cures” for getting old. Acclaimed BusinessWeek science reporter Arlene Weintraub takes us inside this world, from the marketing departments of huge pharmaceutical companies to the backroom of your local pharmacy, from celebrity enthusiasts like Suzanne Somers and Oprah to the self-medicating doctors who run chains of rejuvenation centers, all claiming that we deserve to be forever young—and promising to show us how.

Weintraub reveals the shady practices that run rampant when junk science and dubious marketing meet consumer choice. She shows for the remarkable economic and cultural impact of anti-aging medicine, on the patients who partake and on the rest of us. It’s not a pretty story, but Weintraub tells us everything we need to know to avoid being duped by this billion-dollar—and dangerous—hoax.

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