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The Problem with Life Extension Magazine


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#1 RCollins

Posted 13 August 2011 - 09:57 PM


In the August 2011 issue of Life Extension Magazine they promote a product called Cosmesis DNA Repair cream, which contains the ingredients teprenone, caprylic acid, hyaluronic acid, and red tea extract. To promote this product, on page 75 of the magazine they publish an article with the title of "Delay Skin Aging with Cutting-Edge Topical DNA Technology." The advertisement for the DNA repair cream appears one page after the article. I like the idea of DNA repair technology, but I thought it would be a good idea to read the article.

Life Extension magazine publishes articles that have the appearance of a scientific article, with footnotes scattered throughout the article and a long list of references at the end. However, when I take the time to check some of these footnotes my experience has been that they cite references which do not really support statements in the text very well, if at all. The Topical DNA Technology article is a good example of this.

The author states that tepronone "actively inhibits or limits the programmed cellular senescence (aging) and apoptosis (programmed death) of skin cells..." This is followed by footnotes 8 and 9. These do not refer to published scientific articles but instead to websites on the internet. Footnote 9 refers to wipo.int, a website that lists patents and trademarks.

The author then states that "Hyaluronic acid has a volumizing or 'plumping' effect on the skin's extra-cellular matrix, which adds fullness and minimizes the appearance of facial wrinkles." This is followed by footnotes 15 and 16. Footnote 16 refers to an article about the use injectable hyaluronic acid fillers as used by cosmetic surgeons to plump up lips and so on. This is simply not related to topical use of hyaluronic acid. Footnote 20 also refers to injectable hyaluronic acid gels as used by cosmetic surgeons. There is no explanation in the text as to why the author is referencing articles about injectable hyaluronic acid gels. Hyaluronic acid is a huge molecule. Is it even absorbed at all when applied topically?

The author then states that "Red tea extract further boosts the skin's ability to ward off and reverse skin aging." This dramatic statement is followed by no fewer than 5 footnotes. Footnotes 24 through 28. However when I check these footnotes they refer to articles which don't even address the topic of using red tea extracts on the skin. For example footnote 26 refers to the article "Identification of chlorophylls and carotenoids in major teas by high-performance liquid chromatography with photodiode array detection." This is completely unrelated.

Footnote 27 is titled "Health promoting properties of common herbs", and was published in September 1999 by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The full text of this article is available free online at the website of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. I don't find any mention of red tea in the entire article. Why would the author make the statement that red tea extracts can help "reverse skin aging" and then cite for support a scientific article that does not even mention red tea?

Some footnotes lead to the statement "Data on File." As much as I would like to believe that the data they have on file is valid, the way most of the article is written leads me to question that possibility.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this article in Life Extension Magazine or their new "DNA Repair Cream" product?

#2 Mind Re: The Problem with Life Extension Magazine

  • Location:Wausau, WI
  • yes

Posted 13 August 2011 - 10:13 PM

I don't have an opinion on this particular product but this has been a common criticism of LEF for many years now, that they push supplements like crazy on sometimes rather thin evidence. However, I don't think they are reckless or are pushing total junk. The vast majority of their products are natural-based and do have some scientific backing.

I have always been willing to let this slide because I know the founders and many members of LEF are committed to unlimited lifespans. They have put up big money to support research (and cryonics) in the recent past. They even sponsored prizes for the Imminst folding@home prize for over a year. They are committed to helping people.
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#3 RCollins Re: The Problem with Life Extension Magazine

Posted 14 August 2011 - 12:07 AM

I have always been willing to let this slide...


Hi Mind, I hear what you are saying and I am glad that Immortality Institute is getting some of their cash flow. However, I am not sure that they are helping the cause by printing articles like that one. I would like the science of life extension to be taken seriously. I think articles like that one are part of the reason many mainstream scientists don't want their name associated with the field at all. And that slows things down. Would you have signed your name to that article?


I wonder if they could increase their editorial standards just a bit?


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#4 nameless Re: The Problem with Life Extension Magazine

Posted 14 August 2011 - 12:47 AM

Their magazine is simply one big advertisement. Your criticism is of course valid, but I'm not sure if anyone in this community has ever taken them very seriously. Of if they did, they no longer do (or shouldn't).

As for letting them slide, I think this is the wrong approach to take, to be honest. Just because their founders and some members support life extension, doesn't undo misdeeds or mistakes by the company.

And in regard to them 'helping people', look at their LEF mix -- and then wonder how many have been harmed over the years by taking a full dose of the stuff.

Edited by nameless, 14 August 2011 - 12:51 AM.

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#5 Methos000 Re: The Problem with Life Extension Magazine

  • Location:DFW

Posted 14 August 2011 - 02:02 AM

Their magazine is simply one big advertisement. Your criticism is of course valid, but I'm not sure if anyone in this community has ever taken them very seriously. Of if they did, they no longer do (or shouldn't).

As for letting them slide, I think this is the wrong approach to take, to be honest. Just because their founders and some members support life extension, doesn't undo misdeeds or mistakes by the company.

And in regard to them 'helping people', look at their LEF mix -- and then wonder how many have been harmed over the years by taking a full dose of the stuff.


I had been wondering why my pecker fell off...damn that LEF Mix!

Edited by Methos000, 14 August 2011 - 02:04 AM.


#6 mustardseed41 Re: The Problem with Life Extension Magazine

  • Location:Atlanta, Georgia

Posted 16 August 2011 - 10:08 PM

Yea my leg fell off from taking LE mix for many years. They have some great articles. I learned a great deal about D3 and K2 from them.

#7 Mind Re: The Problem with Life Extension Magazine

  • Location:Wausau, WI
  • yes

Posted 16 August 2011 - 10:52 PM

I know, the ends do not justify the means, and this particular article is thin on evidence, and I wouldn't put my name on the article without further study, but I still give them the benefit of the doubt. I think they have done more good than harm.
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#8 nowayout Re: The Problem with Life Extension Magazine

  • Location:Earth

Posted 16 August 2011 - 11:08 PM

Almost all their articles are like this. They confuse the issue by equating correlation with causation, on purpose, to sell stuff. For example, invalid logic such as: "since populations with higher vitamin D levels have less MS, therefore taking vitamin D protects against MS". Given that most of their readers, even highly educated ones, don't understand the problem with statements like these, I find it very unethical.

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#9 VesperLynd Re: The Problem with Life Extension Magazine

Posted 29 August 2011 - 12:58 PM

In my opinion, the pros and cons of LEF magazine:

Pros
- they are usually among the first to discuss and highlight new health findings...so that I can better research elsewhere.
- they are mostly pragmatic in their approach to healthcare and offer multiple solutions to a single problem and provide references to further reading.

Cons
- their forums are weak which is too bad as I would love to discuss the topics in more depth
- the articles are primarily a way of pushing the product on the subsequent page, which brings up the whole issue of conflict of interest and bias and truth in advertizing.

It's a great concept, however, the execution is weak. A much better solution would be to offer a similar magazine which I would be willing to pay a much higher subscription fee for, along with no advertizing - similar to Consumer Reports.




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