The AustralAsian Academy of Anti-Ageing Medicine (A5M) held its 2nd Annual Anti-Ageing & Aesthetic Medicine Conference, Anti-Ageing Interventions: Now and for the Future at the Swissotel in Sydney in September. Delegates from around the world attended the two day conference to hear a host of authoritative speakers who are leaders in the field of anti-ageing and appearance medicine. International and local anti-ageing pioneers delivered seminars and talks about the rapidly growing area of medicine and aesthetics, including the "father" of anti-ageing medicine and co-founder of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, Dr Bob Goldman. “The philosophy behind anti-ageing medicine,” explains A5M president, Dr Michael Zacharia, “is based on improving and maintaining wellness as a means of extending the length and improving the quality of our lives. Patient care management is based on an integrative medical approach, a philosophy borne out of the success of sports medicine, with a proactive approach to creating and maintaining optimum health with what we call the five pillars of anti-ageing – diet, exercise, relaxation, supplements and medication – whilst taking into account one’s genetic inheritance and predisposition.”

Established in 2005 by Bill Anton the scientific adviser and board member for A4M in the US, Anton was asked to establish A5M as the “little brother” to its American counterpart. The medical and scientific body for the Austral-Asian region provides education for doctors and health care practitioners on the clinical and scientific aspects of anti-ageing medicine, explains Bill Anton, “the industry also needs to apply a level of self-regulation the whole process of anti-ageing medicine is to provide the vehicle of education, accreditation and examinations so that people can wear their emblem with pride. Peer review also plays a big part and setting standards that the industry needs to comply with. Up until now the industry has been very much in its infancy phase but we have now reached a level of maturity in anti-ageing medicine where we have realised that unless we need to start imposing a level set of standards. Unless this happens the doctors who take it seriously are going to be subjected to a bunch of cowboys who will, in a one-hour session, learn about a particular aspect of anti-ageing medicine and then go on to call themselves an anti-ageing expert and give the rest of us a bad name.”

Speakers covered aspects as diverse as stem cell rejuvenation to advanced Botox techniques and neuro cranial restructuring. Daryll Knowles, the owner of Australian Custom Pharmaceuticals and chairman of the board of NxGen Pharmaceuticals Pty. Ltd. Said for him the highlights of the conference are always the new innovations from overseas, “we are a little bit of a backwater here in Australia and it’s good to hear from people who are on the cutting edge. I also like the opportunity to present because we always have something new coming up. We like to present the doctors with the latest in skincare and anti-ageing pharmaceuticals. Most of the products aren’t registered in Australia so the only way doctors can get them here is through a compounding pharmacist or a compounding lab. So we get the doctors up to speed on what’s possible.”

Dr Janethy Balakrishnan said to truly serve our clients and patients we need to approach anti-ageing holistically, “I remind my patients that ageing is a continuous process so you have to maintain it; you can’t just do it once and hope for the best. But I do believe in an overall holistic approach is the best form of anti-ageing medicine. Look at what you eat, how you exercise and how you treat your skin. I am basically an anti-ageing physician but I find most patients aren’t particularly patient people, they want instant gratification. They want something tangible whereas anti-ageing internal medicine is a long-term benefit and the results and visible benefits are accumulative. If you see immediate results then maybe there is something wrong with the treatment! But looking at the whole approach and addressing the likes of facial volume or areas of concern with immediately beneficial treatments to support the internal side of things is one way of getting the patient motivated initially.”

Bill Anton agreed that anti-ageing medicine is a vast and rapidly developing area, “it’s not just the endocrinology and hormones side there is also the external side – or the panel beating as I call it. Whether it be mind and body medicine, exercise physiology, diet and nutrition or de-stressing mechanisms, it’s all part of the same approach.” The A5M Chairman added that it was a consumer driven area, “doctors are getting tired of being glorified drug representatives and writing out scripts for everything, it is not satisfying for them, whereas this style of medicine is very satisfying and gratifying because it appeals to their scientific nature, curiosity and their ability to solve problems. Secondly, and the unfortunate thing about this is that a lot of doctors come over to this side of the fence because of greed. Fortuitously however, we find that after they have been practicing it for a while they become addicted, see it makes sense and they start working on themselves as the guinea pigs first and then they take it to their patients. So it is a tsunami wave about to happen it doesn’t matter what conventional medicine says, it’s the consumer, the baby boomer who is ageing and they don’t what to look like the stereotypical image of someone approaching their 60s.”

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