"Silver Fleece" Awards Given for Anti-Aging Pseudoscience

Article excerpt

On March 14, 2003, the second annual "Silver Fleece" Awards, a lighthearted effort to make the public aware of anti-aging quackery, were announced at the joint Conference of The National Council on the Aging and the American Society on Aging by noted aging expert S. Jay Olshansky, professor of epidemiology at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. The award is a bottle of vegetable oil labeled "Snake Oil." The winner for the worst anti-aging product went to "Longevity," which is being sold on the Internet by Urban Nutrition Inc. and touted as including the substance 2-AEP, which, purportedly, will "strengthen, seal, and protect your cells from toxins and diseases entering and infecting your healthy cells. This rejuvenation of your cells slows the aging process."

According to Olshansky, "Longevity is just one of many products being sold throughout the world with the claim that it will slow or reverse human aging. These products have never been proven to do anything but line the pockets of those selling them. The irony in this case is that not only is the inventor of Longevity dead, but so are many of the famous people Dr. Nieper claims to have treated with the product." Longevity users include Princess Caroline of Monaco, John Wayne, Yul Brynner, Anthony Quinn, Natalie Wood, Red Buttons, and Fred MacMurray. The criteria for this award included an evaluation of the purported health and longevity benefits, claims about scientific evidence supporting the product, the degree to which legitimate scientific research is exaggerated and the profit potential for those selling it. A one-month supply of Longevity containing 90 pills currently sells for $44.99 on the web site. That's $540 a year.

The recipient of the Silver Fleece Award for an Anti-Aging Organization goes to CLONAID for "the organization that contributes the most to disseminating misinformation and/or products associated with the claim that human aging can now be stopped or reversed. …