For proof that the drug works, marketers turn to images like the memorable one of pot-bellied septuagenarian Dr. Jeffry Life, supposedly transformed into a ripped hulk of himself by his own program available at the upscale Las Vegas-based Cenegenics Elite Health. (He declined to be interviewed.)
These promoters of HGH say there is a connection between the drop-off in growth hormone levels through adulthood and the physical decline that begins in late middle age. Replace the hormone, they say, and the aging process slows.
“It’s an easy ruse. People equate hormones with youth,” said Dr. Tom Perls, a leading industry critic who does aging research at Boston University. “It’s a marketing dream come true.”
Associated Press Writer David B. Caruso reported from New York and AP National Writer Jeff Donn reported from Plymouth, Mass. AP Writer Troy Thibodeaux provided data analysis assistance from New Orleans.
AP’s interactive on the HGH investigation: http://hosted.ap.org/interactives/2012/hgh
The AP National Investigative Team can be reached at investigate(at)ap.org