Tag Archives: antiaging

University’s ties to testosterone therapy questioned

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism, and he has blogged for Covering Health ever since.

When it comes to sketchy medicine, female hormone therapies have company. According to reporter John Fauber of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the fast-growing field of testosterone therapy is “based largely on iffy science, promotion, manipulation and conflicts of interest,” much of which originated at the University of Wisconsin.
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Fauber found the questionable ties during an investigation of company-funded UW courses that count as continuing education credits for local physicians. Despite the lack of rigorous research into testosterone therapy’s effects, UW courses (with material created in part by drug company contractors and involving studies authored by doctors with drug company ties) and other like them have helped push testosterone therapies, especially Solvay’s AndroGel, to millions of American males. In his extensively researched piece, Fauber takes on not only local conflicts of interest, but also the male hormone replacement and anti-aging movement.

Antiaging hormone therapies unproven, carry risks

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism, and he has blogged for Covering Health ever since.

In Self magazine, Harriet Brott reports on the rise of Suzanne Somers-esque hormone therapies to combat the signs of aging. Proponents treat the usual aging process as a “glandular disorder caused in part by dwindling hormones.”

Brott covers a number of trendy hormone treatments, but pays special attention to one of the most controversial such treatments: human growth hormone. Strict laws assert that hGH can’t be used for anti-aging treatment and can only be prescribed for specific groups of patients, including those with an exceedingly rare hormone deficiency. Some physicians have circumvented these rules by declaring that, as hGH naturally declines as humans get older, anyone over the age of 30 has an hGH deficiency. Experts say the supposed benefits of such therapies have not yet materialized, while the risks have made themselves all too clear.

Somehow we got the notion that aging and menopause are unnatural,” says Barbara A. Brenner, executive director of Breast Cancer Action in San Francisco. “This is an uncontrolled experiment being done on women, and anybody who thinks you can alter your body chemistry and only get positive effects doesn’t understand how chemistry works.”

Brott also traces the hGH anti-aging myth back to the sentence that started it all, investigates the booming hormone-spa industry and looks into the future (and distant, goat-related past) of anti-aging fads.