Staying Young, One Fad At A Time

Ed Detwiler, a 47-year-old real estate developer, works out as Dr. Dr. Jeffry Life, background left, watches at a gym in Las Vegas, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2008. Detwiler is a patient at the Cenegenics Medical Institute, a Las Vegas-based clinic that specializes in "age management," a growing field in a society obsessed with staying young. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
It's one of those photos that make you do a double-take.

Dr. Jeffry Life stands in jeans, his shirt off. His face is that of a distinguished-looking grandpa; his head is balding, and what hair there is, is white.

But his 69-year-old body looks like it belongs to a muscle-bound 30-year-old.

The photo regularly runs in ads for the Cenegenics Medical Institute, a Las Vegas-based clinic that specializes in "age management," a growing field in a society obsessed with staying young. Life, who swears that's his real last name, also keeps a framed copy of the photo on his office wall at Cenegenics.

"He's the man!" patient Ed Detwiler says teasingly, pointing to the photo of the doctor who, in many ways, has become his role model.

Detwiler, 47, has been Life's patient for more than three years. In that time, he has adopted the regimen that his doctor also follows - drastically changing his exercise and eating habits and injecting himself each day with human growth hormone. He also receives weekly testosterone injections.

He does it because it makes him feel better, more energetic, clear-minded.

He does it because he wants to live a long, healthy life.

"If I were stooped over and bedridden, what kind of quality of life is that?" asks Detwiler, a real estate developer in suburban Las Vegas who says he's doing this, in part, for his wife, who is nine years younger. "If I can get out and be active and travel and see the world and be able to make a difference in other people's lives, then yes, I would want to have as long an existence as possible."

It is a common sentiment in a society where many of us strive to look and feel decades younger - to prove to ourselves and the world that we are healthier and more vital than our parents were at our age. We've all heard it: 60 is the new 50, the new 40 and so on.

But often, we need a little help. Sometimes, a lot of help.

As the baby boomers march toward retirement, Botox, wrinkle fillers and hormones of various kinds have become big business. Medco's latest drug trend report shows, for instance, that human growth hormone use grew almost 6 percent in 2007.