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Keywords:

  • anti-ageing medicine;
  • anthropology;
  • ageing;
  • science and technology;
  • biomedicine

Abstract

The emergence of anti-ageing medicine over the past 20 years has posed tremendous challenges for the understanding of ageing and the concomitant responsibilities of biomedicine. Though highly contentious and loosely organised at best, anti-ageing targets ageing for biomedical intervention. This article examines a history of anti-ageing in the United States from 1993 to 2008, outlining its evolution from a scientific ‘backwater’ to a field with such promise that many within and outside the field believe efficacious therapies are an inevitability. In large part, the language of anti-ageing has shifted from predictions to expectations; it has become less a question of ‘if’ and more a question of ‘when’ and ‘how’ this rhetorical shift is directly linked with increasing legitimacy constructed upon a complex web of factors including mounting practitioner involvement, research interest, media attention, and popular desire. In this article I briefly review this history alongside the strategic histories marshalled by the various proponents and opponents to support their claims of legitimacy. The history of anti-ageing medicine is one of an emerging scientific and clinical practice as well as a history of an idea that has very recently made its way out of science fiction and into science future.