In ancient times humans bowed down to the Gods to beg for immortality. Today we bow down to technology in our pursuit of the same fabled fountain of youth that has eluded humankind for eons.
There is little difference between Ponce de Leon’s fantastical search for the fountain of youth and today’s snake oil science anti-aging industry. By exploiting our deep-rooted fear of death and grossest vanities the anti-aging industry is raking in billions of dollars.
Canadian CBC TV’s Magical Mystery Cures host Bob McDonald, the science guy, recently attended an anti-aging convention in Las Vegas to put anti-aging potions and gadgets to the test:
The Toronto Star has a great Q&A with McDonald here. Here are a couple of the best quotes:
What was the most outrageous product?
I found the most outrageous were the gadgets. There was one where I just got completely lost where I was told to hold on to some quartz crystals and stare at a laptop that had some mathematical patterns on the screen called fractals. . . They are very beautiful to look at. I had some ethereal music on a headset playing and I was told that this was going to balance my quantum codes.
That was one of my favourite lines in the show. You say, “I have no idea what she’s stalking about.”
That’s because it was not science. And that’s what bothers me about this. I’m really annoyed when I see things where science is being misused. It’s being misrepresented by people trying to dupe the public or they are conspiracy theorists who say outrageous things and then say well, they’re scientifically proven, they just put out wrong information or misleading information or partial information.
Does anything work?
Oh yes. Let’s make it clear, I’m not trying to dismiss or criticize the health food industry or the natural products that are out there. There are lots of wonderful products that do work. Food supplements: some of them work. There are some creams that are good for your skin. There is a lot of stuff out of there that does work. I went after the extremes. . . The public needs to be informed that snake oil is still around.
What is your advice for us all?
Do what your grandmother told you. Eat right and exercise. . . I came away from this feeling kind of sorry for people who have bought into an industry that constantly tells them they’re not good enough, they’re too fat, their skin is too wrinkly, their skin is the wrong colour, they’re not balanced with the universe. It makes me feel sad to get caught up in this, ‘Oh I need that because my aura’s off or something,’ when in fact if you just got on a bicycle and rode around the block a couple of times you’d feel great.
If you’re in Canada, you can watch the full episode of Magical Mystery Cures here. If you’re not, the CBC says screw you.