If you wanted to find out about hormones and their place in the contemporary antiaging firmament, you’d want to go to the annual conference of the American Association of Anti-Aging Medicine, A4M, held each year at the opulently tacky Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas.
It is, of course, a circus; one wishes for a Twain or a Mencken, or perhaps even a David Sedaris, to vet its quintessentially American nature. The A4M public relations people, sensing the barrel of fish they have as a client, severely restrict press access, but with a little patience, they can be convinced that you will give their fish an even break. Once in the barrel, it is difficult to do so. Here, laid out on a ballroom floor the size of the Gator Bowl, with a good size sprinkling of “demo girls,” “pavilion hostesses,” and, let’s face it, outright working girls just to make it really resemble an AMA convention, clamor purveyors of every known antiaging product under the sun.
A sampler might include the Sunetics Corporation’s “Laser Hair Brush,” about which the company touts: “Fact: the FDA cleared the first Laser Hair Therapy device to grow hair in January 2007,” although one wondered what happened in February. There was LivOn Laboratories’ Lypo-Spheric AGE Blocker, “the most powerful oral nutrient delivery system in the world,” competing, apparently, with the human mouth. There was the “Barefoot connections” antiaging device sold by Earthing Solutions, which helps the earth’s electric field “transfer easily to the body,” as if it had problems doing so in the first place. One physician panelist who had her own booth gave consultations about “how to get over the guilt of having a cash-only practice.” There was not a long line.
There was also the Energy Enhancement System, a computer monitor that hooks up to one’s body and “regenerates life on a cellular level”; a company selling “cutting-edge saliva hormone testing to detect your biological age”; a pavilion selling “colon hydrotherapy stations” that can “complement your business (No Messy Leaks!! NO Messy Blowouts!! NO ODOR!!)”; a German—surprise—outfit selling “fresh thymus extract”; another offering a full body-immersion unit called Cardio Cor that floods the body with infrared light and hence lets you “ride ... reduce ... rejuvenate”; a BioBanc system that lets you store your own white blood cells so that you can be prepared for tomorrow’s medical miracles; a supplement called “Pee-Nuts,” for “prostate health in a bottle”; a product called H4O, water with hydrogen gas dissolved in it for reducing bullshit oxidative damage; and, my favorite, a natural herbal lubricant called, perfectly, “Virgin Again.”
Excerpted from Eternity Soup by Greg Critser © 2010 Greg Critser. Reprinted by permission of Harmony Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group.