Shopping at the fountain of youth (common sense sold separately)

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 58, No. 3, April 2016, Page 120 Editorials

“Do you know anything about DNA?”

Retreating to my time-tested defence mechanism, “What?” I answered in a dumb voice.

“Well, your DNA and mine are exactly the same. The only difference is that I have stopped mine from aging. Would you like to hear more?”

Staying true to my original answer I repeated, “What?”

“For only $300 this external device used twice a day will reverse the aging process of your DNA.”

“You mean I will look the same in 20 years?”

“You will look younger. Brad Pitt calls this device his lifesaver.”

At this point I wanted to point out that Brad Pitt, while still a good-looking man (he’s in my top five), has aged considerably in the last 20 years. Also that while our DNA base pairs are the same their order on our double helix is different, but then I would have given myself away.

This conversation took place at a wellness show I recently attended in Vancouver. I had expected exhibitors to encourage mental well-being, promote exercise, and discuss healthy eating. Instead, there were many demonstrators promoting food products not for what was in them but for what wasn’t—dairy free, fat free, sugar free, gluten free, soy free (I was waiting for the sign, food free). There were the usual promotions for various supplements—tea tree oil, oil of oregano, colloidal silver, etc. Olive leaf was something I hadn’t heard of before, and I noticed that 3, 6, and 9 are now passé; Omega 7 found in anchovies is now the bomb. I was offered detox flushes for my liver, lungs, kidneys, and colon. I received blank stares when I said, “No thanks, I already flushed this morning.”

My spiritual health was encouraged through meditation and yoga, which seems like a good idea. I came across a booth for the College of Medical Intuition. I wanted to ask if they knew that I was going to visit the booth. I talked to the PhD medical intuitive, who is also the CEO and registrar. She offered to unblock my energy and help me heal naturally. Next door the chiropractor was handing out pamphlets on how birth causes infant vertebral subluxations that need regular manipulations to prevent SIDS, ear infections, colic, and other illnesses. He was also going to cure attention deficit disorder through his magical touch. Around the corner I could purchase a device that would pulse sound vibrations through my bed, allowing my aggregated red blood cells to restore their natural state (I pictured some big, tough guy yelling at my teenage erythrocytes to stop hanging out at the mall). I discovered that pulsed magnetic field therapy is also critical to good health. You can purchase devices to stand on or to wear around your midsection or head, all of which improve immune function and circulation while healing injuries and fractures.

Many of the product promotions contained pseudoscience. Quotes about how to regulate, change, fix, and realign the DNA in your genome were commonplace. I would encourage our top scientists and geneticists to attend next year’s show as they are presently wasting valuable time and research money. Apparently all you have to do is take some supplements and pay a few hundred dollars and the world will be saved from disease.

Interestingly, of all the numerous booths only a few promoted exercise. I guess it wouldn’t be much of a show if the attendees were handed a pamphlet by a lone smiling exhibitor telling them to eat a well-balanced diet, not to smoke or drink excessively, to get adequate sleep, to exercise regularly, and to participate in activities that make them happy. 

David R. Richardson, MD. Shopping at the fountain of youth (common sense sold separately). BCMJ, Vol. 58, No. 3, April, 2016, Page(s) 120 - Editorials.

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