‘Anti-ageing medicine’ in Australia: Global trends and local practices to redefine ageing

Cardona, Beatriz
December 2009
Health Sociology Review;Dec2009, Vol. 18 Issue 4, p446
Academic Journal
Through interviews with users and providers of anti-ageing medicine in Australia as well as the analysis of various internet sites, anti-ageing clinics, journals and magazines dealing with anti-ageing medicine, this paper will argue that the anti-ageing industry in Australia is an example of how ‘mediascapes’ operate, seeking in this case to replicate the American model while developing a more localized practice meeting local needs, cultural orientations and regulatory frameworks. The products being studied here include some which have been on the market for many years in the Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) industry, but have only recently been rebranded as ‘anti-ageing’. These include vitamins, anti-oxidants, supplements such as beta-carotene, selenium and coenzyme Q10, homeopathic products, exercise and diet programs. Other products that have been recently labelled as ‘anti-ageing’ and are included in this study are hormone therapies, testosterone, melatonin, Human Growth Hormone (HGH), and Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). These products have been previously trialled and used in the treatment of medical problems such as heart disease, sexual dysfunction, cognitive and memory loss problems, and hormonal deficiency. Current medical research on stem cells, particularly embryonic stem cells, has also fallen within the realm of anti-ageing treatments developed from this research area and available primarily in countries with limited regulation and control over the use and availability of embryonic stem cells in the context of the private anti-ageing clinic. The differences and similarities between the practice of anti-ageing medicine in Australia and in America highlight current tensions and correspondences in the manner in which ageing is being constructed, managed and experienced. They are indicative of the impact that social policy directions, regulatory frameworks and economic policies have on the way in which ageing individuals and society at large approach the experience of old age.


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