ON a clear morning recently, an elegantly dressed mrs strolled down fifth Avenue, rotate onto east 72d Street and also strode past million-dollar limestone maisonettes right into the office of Dr. Adrienne Denese. The patient, a fashion publicity agent from the higher rungs of brand-new York society, asked no to be named, yet revealed the she visits Dr. Denese's clinic to get her weekly dose of the 1990's version of youth elixir: human growth hormone.

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Dr. Denese, a trim blonde through skin the is smooth yet oddly hard to the touch, is no your median physician. A collection of injections of human expansion hormone, or hGH, at her clinic, she maintains, gives patients glowing skin, enhanced muscle mass, elevated sex drive, a lighter mood, sharper mental acuity and the whiz-bang management of an 18-year-old.

The powerful hormone, i beg your pardon was emerged to treat children afflicted by dwarfism, has end up being a trendy anti-aging potion among some the the Upper eastern Side's social elite, and with Hollywood stars and executives, in spite of a 1996 research that proved it has no anti-aging benefits and Federal government warnings of potentially harmful side effects. Physicians say hundreds of Americans are right now using the hormone, which expenses $200 to $400 a week, in hope of reversing the droops, dwindles and sags of center age.

Human growth hormone is just one therapy deployed by a a cultivation field of medical practitioners who contact themselves anti-aging specialists, a legion of latter-day Ponce de Leons. Their techniques are rooted in plastic surgery, however go far beyond it -- to hormone instead of therapy, vitamin supplementation, dermatology, physics therapy and also other procedures, both internal and cosmetic. Speak to it one-stop shopping for graying boomers, the youth-obsessed generation that has actually resolved to no go gentle right into its Geritol years.

With one American transforming 50 every 7.6 seconds, sectors that promise to cushion the indignity of aging room flourishing, indigenous retirement-oriented mutual funds to face-saving plastic surgery. Bookstore shelves space crowded v volumes choose ''Reversing human being Aging'' and also ''Stopping the Clock.'' A publication due in October by one anti-aging guru, Dr. Timothy J. Smith, ''Renewal: The Anti-Aging Revolution,'' is featured ~ above the covering of the present Publisher's Weekly.

The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, i m sorry was established by 12 doctors in 1993, currently boasts a member of much more than 4,300 United says doctors, that specialize in the all-encompassing strategy to youth preservation.

''We're not about growing old gracefully,'' claimed Dr. Ronald Klatz, 43, the group's president, who methods in Chicago. ''We're around never cultivation old.'' cary Cimino, 37, a personal investor in Manhattan who has been taking development hormone for one year, said, ''My health and also my quality of life are major issues for me.''

Speaking by moving phone during a workout in ~ the Reebok sporting activities Club top top the top West Side, he said, ''I used to be the hedonistic yuppie of the 1980's that was only came to with his Mercedes-Benz. Now, I'm the hedonistic yuppie that the 90's who is only concerned around his health and well-being. And also who will carry out anything because that it.''

Anti-aging experts promote a selection of hormones, consisting of melatonin, testosterone and DHEA. However the many faddish, and most controversial, is hGH. An extremely powerful drug, hGH -- in an previously organic formulation -- was attributed with causing break out of Creutzfeldt-Jakob syndrome, a potentially fatal disorder attached to mad cow disease.

The current synthetic formulation the hGH, manufactured by pharmaceutical giants prefer Eli Lilly and Genentech, was approved by the Food and Drug management for adult usage 10 months ago, yet only for pick patients who endure from AIDS-related wasting syndrome; native a rare kind of expansion hormone deficiency, or for recovery from surgical treatment on the pituitary gland (the body's resource of expansion hormone).

An anti-aging course of hGH injections, which have the right to be self-administered, can cost much more than $20,000 a year. The physicians who prescribe it make bold promises: besides redistributing human body fat and also building lean muscle, the medical professionals say, hGH is understood to boost memory, sex drive and also cardiovascular capacity, rise skin firmness and elevate mood. The doctors also say they have seen no adverse side effects.

M Y patient who supplied to take antidepressants don't take them anymore,'' said Dr. Denese, whose practice consists of models, bankers and also the sometimes faded rock star (Deborah bother of Blondie is a client). ''They take it hGH and it makes their mood lighter. Also I take it, and also I'm an ext animated, ns feel good and ns don't take it Prozac anymore.''

Chris Stein, another Blondie member and also patient that Dr. Denese's, claimed hGH enhanced his power level. ''People say my skin watch smoother, too,'' that said. ''Although after ~ I obtain the injections, I'm a tiny jittery, choose I've had too much coffee.''

In December, Dr. Denese happen the an initial certifying exam offered by the American plank of Anti-Aging Medicine, return the plank itself is not known by the American plank of medical Specialties, the federal arm that regulates groups professing medical expertise.

Medical authorities who are not associated with the anti-aging plank or its affiliate, the anti-aging academy, caution against the usage of hormones, especially hGH. Dr. Robert Butler, a professor of geriatrics at mount Sinai institution of Medicine and director of the worldwide Longevity facility affiliated v Mount Sinai clinical Center, says hGH requires additional study before it is used as a youth elixir. The biggest study for this reason far, of 52 men, 70 and also older, in 1996, uncovered that after 6 months the subjects had boost in lean body mass and a decrease in fat, however there was no development in strength, endurance or mental ability. Next effects, consisting of swollen ankles and also aching joints, led to 26 percent the the males to reduce their doses of the hormone.

''It is our thought about opinion the DHEA, melatonin, testosterone, or hGH must not be encourage to patients,'' claimed Dr. Butler, who did not take part in the 1996 study. ''We could be deeply regretful of hGH and also DHEA; hGH causes things come grow, and also may contribute to particular cancers. It may likewise cause carpal tunnel syndrome, enlargement of the heart, enlargement of the bones, and also there's no legitimate proper use.''

Dr. Michael Fossell, a clinical professor of medicine at Michigan State University and the editor that the new Journal the Anti-Aging Medicine, i m sorry is not affiliated through the anti-aging academy, states that hormone therapies are the brand-new patent medicines -- cure-alls taken on by a too-trusting public.

''There's a lot of of, 'Oh, wow!' science out there,'' Dr. Fossell said. ''There's a function for that sort of enthusiasm. However it pipeline a bad taste in my mouth as soon as you take benefit of people and sell them line oil.''

The national Institute top top Aging in ~ the national Institutes of health issued a report last year about hormone therapy, i beg your pardon reads in part: ''Side results of hGH treatment can incorporate diabetes and also pooling of fluid in the skin and also other tissues, which may result in high blood pressure and heart failure. Share pain and also carpal tunnel syndrome may likewise occur.''

Dr. Bruce J. Nadler, a plastic operated doctor who began to incorporate hGH therapy right into his exercise after hearing about it from the anti-aging academy and who prescribes the to about 50 patient in Manhattan, identified that when supplied in higher-than-recommended doses, damaging effects can occur.

''Have you watched the consist of of those body building magazines?'' Dr. Nadler asked. ''Do you notice how the body home builders have spaces between their prior teeth? That's since they're acquisition too much hGH and their skulls have actually grown, resulting in their this to spread apart.''

Despite the potentially dangerous and freakish next effects, the mystique of hormones as a quick-fix appears to it is in growing. Dr. Denese's fashion public agent has referred at least three friends for hGH shots.

In Los Angeles, human development hormone and other anti-aging hormone are renowned in the movie industry, says Dr. Ronald Lawrence, an assistant clinical professor that neurology at U.C.L.A. Clinical School.

''There space probably about 20 doctors out here, in between Beverly Hills and also Hollywood, who between them have actually hundreds the clients,'' claimed Dr. Lawrence, that prescribes part hormones come fight aging, but not hGH, which he considers as well risky. He compared the movie colony's interest in hormone to the plot of ''Death becomes Her,'' a movie in i m sorry Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep drink a medicine that will render lock not only immortal but also firm of thigh forever.

''But no one will talk since people in the movie industry are close-mouthed around their clinical histories,'' Dr. Lawrence said. ''Everyone's really concerned about hiring an actor for a movie and also hearing civilization say: 'He's ~ above what? What's he acquisition that for? Is that sick?' ''

The actor Nick Nolte, for one, was spotted at the last convention of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, held in ras Vegas, Nev., in December; Mr. Nolte walk from booth come booth, collecting literature. Dr. Eric Braverman of new York claimed that Mr. Nolte is a patient of his and a devotee that hGH, although the actor declined to comment.

Another physician, Murray Susser, who is based in West Los Angeles, says he treats about 50 members of Hollywood's elite, native movie stars to studio heads, and has even treated the sick Labrador retriever of among his clients.

''The male sent his exclusive jet because that the hormone, and the first day the dog acquired up native his bed,'' Dr. Susser said.

Clinics and practices dedicated to every page of the anti-aging movement -- whereby patients can obtain their faces lifted, their blood pumped complete of hormones and their thighs massaged v $40,000 anti-cellulite devices -- space springing up in the plastic-surgery strongholds that the united States.

In las Vegas, Dr. Alan P. Mintz, a previous professor of medication at the university of Chicago, oversees the hormone futures of much more than 60 patients from across the country. In ~ his clinic, the Cenegenics Anti-Aging Center, patients undergo a daylong physical exam and blood tests that look at hormone levels; Dr. Mintz and also his staff then prescribe a daily dose of hormones, enzymes and also vitamins. The cost: $1,300 for the physical, and up come $1,600 a month because that the supplement package. (That's $19,200 a year. Dr. Mintz proposal the package because that life; the is not extended by wellness insurance.)

''Our score is to lug the endocrine system earlier to wherein it to be at age 30,'' stated Dr. Mintz, that himself take away scores of vitamins, hormones and enzymes top top a daily basis, which that injects under the skin, inserts under the tongue, rubs right into his skin and ingests in pills, capsules and also powders. ''I've been taking hGH because that three and also a fifty percent years, and also I've never felt much better or stronger,'' that said.

One the his patients, jan Griscom, 43, started the full package that anti-aging therapy several months ago. She reported at many a moderate benefit so far.

''I've noticed some enhanced energy,'' she said. ''And i feel yes, really good. But I've constantly been active.''

In his workplaces on what can be dubbed Plastic surgical procedure Mile ~ above Manhattan's Park Avenue and also in Smithtown, brand-new York, Dr. Bruce J. Nadler performs the traditional symphony the plastic surgical treatment procedures and also is renowned with the youth-elixir crowd. He states he has more than 50 patients on hGH; he and also his wife likewise take it. A competitive body builder by hobby, Dr. Nadler likes to display visitors come his new York office a snapshot of him clad only in a bikini-brief bathing suit, posing alongside his silver BMW Z-3 convertible.

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DR. NADLER, 51, sat for an interview v his wife, Terri, 52, a trim redhead through firm skin, a fit body and sparkling, alarm eyes, that is possibly the doctor's finest advertisement.

The couple started acquisition hGH two years ago. After ~ a few months on the hormone, ''everything did a complete turnabout,'' Dr. Nadler said, adding: ''Those nagging injuries to be healing faster. Ns was able to work out better. For years, my eating had been an exercise in biochemistry -- weighing every gram of protein and watching every little thing I ate. Currently I can sit down and also eat french fries and also dessert prefer I remained in my 20's without inflating mine love handles. The made mine body function in a lot younger way.''

''I'm one of the baby boomers,'' Dr. Nadler said. ''We're the generation that never ever wants to get old.''