Anti-Aging Medicine: Forever Young
Florida is home to more anti-aging doctors than any other state -- and they're finding many patients willing to spend thousands to feel like they did in their 20s and 30s.
The American Academy for Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) and co-founders Robert Goldman and Ronald Klatz, meanwhile, have been sensitive to criticism. In 2005, A4M filed a $240-million defamation suit against Perls and Olshansky, alleging that the two professors had conspired to undermine the group’s credibility and harmed the group’s business prospects. Olshansky countersued, and both sides later dropped their lawsuits and reached a confidential settlement. In August, A4M sued Wikimedia Foundation and 10 anonymous Wikimedia contributors, alleging that an A4M Wikipedia page contained false and defamatory information about the group and its founders.
The internet, meanwhile, is awash with claims and promises by anti-aging clinics. “Turn Back the Hands of Time,” the Naples Longevity Clinic proclaims on its website. “Rejuvenate your life ... be younger than your years through anti-aging medicine ... slow down the aging process.”
Reached by phone, Dr. Lee Raymond Light, who runs the Naples Longevity Clinic, has a more modest description of the services he offers. “I’m not saying this is the fountain of youth. What I’m saying here is we’re going to try to help you slow the natural aging process down to where God and nature intended it to be.
“Today the maximum life span is 120 to 124 years,” he says. “We’re not saying we’re going to get you there, but we can get you to live closer to that, with less disability, less joint problems, without the loss of libido.”
South Florida is the epicenter of the anti-aging movement.
AssureImmune, Boca Raton —?The 2-year-old company is at the forefront of an increasingly popular component of age management medicine —?adult stem cell collection and storage. Connie Araps, vice president of operations and business strategy, says adults bank their own stem cells for the same reasons that they bank cord blood from their infants — to ensure access to their own stem cells should they develop a disease later on in life. AssureImmune, which also collects stem cells from newborns and older children, charges $2,495 to collect, test, process and freeze adult stem cells for one year. Maintenance of the stem cell collection ranges from $219 to $349 a year.
Age Diagnostic Laboratories, Boca Raton — The company uses urine and saliva samples to analyze hormonal activity in the body —?a method that the company claims is more economical than testing blood and also better received by patients. The company says it can also test for environmental pollutants, osteoporosis and intestinal permeability (leaky gut syndrome) this way, as well as measure levels of growth hormone, melatonin, various electrolytes and amino acids.
Cell Science Systems, Deerfield Beach — Using a blood test developed in the mid-1980s at the University of Miami, Cell Science can test for food sensitivities that cause low-level inflammation that may contribute to many of the degenerative diseases associated with aging. Prices range from $425 for a “comprehensive wellness” panel that tests 100 foods, 10 food additives and 10 food colorings to $1,099 for a “platinum panel” that tests for 200 foods, 10 food additives/10 food colorings, 10 antibiotics/10 anti-inflammatory agents, 20 pharmacoactive agents, 10 environmental chemicals and 20 molds. Kevin Garrity, chief operations officer, anticipates $11 million in sales next year.
Regenerative medicine studies, University of South Florida —?Working closely with the American Academy for Anti-Aging Medicine, the University of South Florida’s College of Medicine introduced a graduate curriculum aimed at anti-aging physicians. The master’s program in medical sciences with metabolic and nutritional medicine concentration provides advanced training in endocrinology, cardiovascular disease, intermediary metabolism, genetics, immunology, pharmacology, nutrition, physiology and biomedical aging. Dr. Pam Smith, an emergency room physician who now practices anti-aging medicine, is the director of the program.