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THE FOREVER YOUNG ISSUE

A Drug's Promise (or Not) of Youth

Growth hormone is the anti-aging industry's most potent and controversial weapon. Some say it works wonders. Some say it could shorten your life.

July 09, 2006|Brian Alexander | Brian Alexander is a contributing editor at Glamour and writes for MSNBC, Outside and others. He is the author of "Rapture: How Biotech Became the New Religion."

So he sought out Chein, who prescribed not only GH but testosterone, progesterone and dietary supplements. His waning libido returned. He charged the net. His thinking perked up. And, he says, "I am very sexually active."

Like many patients, he's unfazed by the theory that growth hormone might shorten, rather than lengthen, life. Who cares? "I do not want to live if I am not healthy. You know, unhook the tube."

The Palm Springs Life Extension Institute has recently expanded its services into the burgeoning med-spa arena by adding an aesthetician, and as I prepare to leave Dillon tells me she will block the exit until I receive a facial from another young woman, named Catheren. I am militantly anti-primping. But Catheren promises I'll walk out glowing like a peach-faced boy. She slathers my face with goo and it feels good.

And on my way out I pass by Tiffany, who compliments my radiant skin but doesn't exactly invite me home, and then I climb into my car and drive west on the 111, beyond the giant windmill farms, and the water storage ponds that keep the valley alive, and I see a billboard, a message from God, apparently, who wants me to know this: "Life is short. Eternity isn't."

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