Turning Back the Clock: The rise of anti-aging medicine

Chronogram
February 1, 2014

Anti-aging medicine says it can bring back our salad days, but other experts offer a different recipe for staying young.

ANNIE INTERNICOLA

ANNIE INTERNICOLA

Everyone has their “certain age.” For Deborah George Gold, it was 46. “What I noticed is, I started losing my memory. I was beside myself, because I would be sitting at my computer looking at a spreadsheet, and I would have no idea what I was working on.” Although she wasn’t having the classic menopause symptoms such as hot flashes or trouble sleeping, Gold was visited by mood dips, faint libido, and low energy—perhaps the handmaidens of perimenopause, the hormonal wind-down period that precedes the finale of the menstrual cycle. “I ended up at my gynecologist’s office, crying. I wasn’t leaving there without something.” The year was 2003, and the solution at the time—despite a massive $91 million Women’s Health Initiative study in 2002 linking it to a greater risk of heart attacks, breast and endometrial cancer, blood clots, and stroke—was synthetic hormone therapy (HT). Her doctor prescribed Premarin. “It helped a little at the beginning,” says Gold, “and then I felt like crap again.” She started researching on her own and found a hopeful answer: bio-identical hormones, touted as a “natural” therapy because their chemical makeup, derived from plants, is considered identical to the hormones that the human body manufactures. “It took a little time to get the mix right,” says Gold of the balancing act of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, which she rubs onto her skin in the form of a transdermal cream. She doesn’t mind that, at 57, she still gets her period. “I’ve got my life back. I have energy, and I have my libido, which is great. I feel like a million bucks.” Read article…