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The Search for Eternal Youth

Retirement is nearing for about 77 million baby boomers and the anti-aging industry is trying to keep them young. Their doctors are prescribing large doses of supplements that they believe prevent the decay of the body's organs. The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine reports the industry has an annual income of $56 billion. At least $79 billion of income is expected by 2009. Over 1,500 doctors have been certified as practitioners in the field.

Human growth hormones are reported to increase muscle mass and improve memory and heart function. Natural estrogen and progesterone are believed to guard against Alzheimer's and osteoporosis, as well as relieve symptoms of menopause. Testosterone is believed to aid memory and bone mass, relieve menopause, and help sexual function.

Most of these alternative treatments are scientifically unproven, but are supported by vast anecdotal evidence. One person who has become convinced of their effectiveness is retired dentist Dr. Howard Benedict, age 61. He spends $10,000 a year on testosterone gel, injections of human growth hormones, and 30 vitamins and supplements. He claims he feels like he's 20 years old.

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