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Column: Avoid getting overwhelmed by the hype while searching for the fountain of youth

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The search for the fountain of youth is as old as time itself. In fact, it’s been a recurring theme for millennia, as various cultures have sought ways to reverse the aging process with the hope of achieving immortality. In modern times, the quest for longevity has taken on a new dimension, fueled by an entire industry promoting products and services that claim to halt or reverse the aging process.

From supplements and skincare products to cosmetic surgery and trendy diets, the market for anti-aging solutions is booming, with consumers willing to invest in anything that promises to keep them forever young. But with all the hype and hyperbole surrounding the fountain of youth, it’s easy to get swept up in false promises and misinformation. The truth is, despite the abundance of products and treatments available, there is no magic elixir that can grant eternal youth.

One prominent figure in the longevity industry is David Sinclair, a 54-year-old Harvard geneticist who is an advocate for rejuvenating the aging process. He has adopted a plant-based diet and takes supplements aimed at activating his longevity genes, in addition to penning a bestseller titled “Lifespan: Why We Age — And Why We Don’t Have To.” Bryan Johnson, a tech entrepreneur and anti-aging guru, goes even further, claiming that death is optional and promoting a range of supplemental products and exercise routines to turn back the clock.

However, not everyone is buying into the fountain of youth narrative. Charles Brenner, a biochemist and renowned authority on metabolism and disease, is known for debunking the exaggerated claims of longevity science. Brenner is critical of the media’s portrayal of aging and sees through the false promises of those seeking to profit from the obsession with anti-aging.

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Brenner’s own research has focused on the potential of a vitamin called nicotinamide riboside to promote resilience and repair in aging. While he doesn’t believe it will extend lifespan, he sees it as a way to help people maintain their vitality as they age. Similarly, psychology professor Laura Carstensen emphasizes the importance of health span over lifespan, advocating for a focus on maintaining health and activity in older age.

While there’s no denying the allure of the anti-aging industry, it’s important to approach these claims with a healthy dose of skepticism. Irina Conboy, a professor at UC Berkeley and co-founder of Generation Lab, emphasizes the need for credible and scientifically backed interventions rather than falling for the lure of pseudo-longevity. She advocates for delaying or preventing age-related diseases through legitimate research and evidence-based treatments.

Ultimately, the pursuit of a longer and healthier life is a noble endeavor, but it should be grounded in reality rather than fueled by false promises and overhyped products. It’s essential to prioritize healthy lifestyles and legitimate medical breakthroughs rather than succumbing to the allure of the fountain of youth. At the end of the day, aging is a natural part of life, and while we can strive to live healthier and more active lives, we must remember that there’s no escaping the inevitable passage of time.

So, avoid the snake oil, skip the gimmicky products, and focus on taking care of your physical and mental health. By embracing a balanced approach to aging, we can find meaning and pleasure in our everyday lives, rather than constantly chasing an unattainable dream of eternal youth. After all, staying healthy and happy is the true key to aging gracefully.

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Immigration in Maine Addressing Labor Shortage Could Set Trend for U.S.

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A significant labor gap in Maine’s lobster industry is being filled by immigrants, shedding light on the critical role that foreign-born workers are likely to play in the U.S. economy as the native-born population ages. Maine, known for its abundant lobster population, is grappling with an aging workforce that is increasingly unable to sustain the demands of the thriving lobster industry, valued at $1 billion.

Ben Conniff, a founder of Luke’s Lobster, underscores the importance of immigrants in sustaining the natural resources economy of the state, as many native-born workers are not inclined towards manufacturing work in food processing. Since its establishment in 2013, Luke’s Lobster has heavily relied on immigrants to staff its lobster processing plant, highlighting the vital role played by foreign-born workers in filling labor gaps.

With Maine boasting the oldest population in the U.S., with a median age of 45.1, the state offers a glimpse into the economic future of America, where immigrants are poised to be a crucial source of new workers and economic vitality in the coming years.

As immigration continues to be a hotly debated topic in the country, the influx of immigrants has been instrumental in boosting the American economy’s potential. The Congressional Budget Office has revised upwards its population and economic growth projections for the next decade, attributing the growth to the wave of newcomers entering the workforce.

Maine’s initiatives to attract and integrate immigrants into the workforce, such as the creation of an Office of New Americans, reflect the state’s proactive approach towards addressing labor shortages. Private companies like Luke’s Lobster have also taken steps to diversify and supplement the aging lobster fishing industry by training immigrants and minorities in lobster fishing and licensing processes.

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Chadai Gatembo, an 18-year-old immigrant from the Democratic Republic of Congo, exemplifies the success story of immigrants finding opportunities in Maine. Despite facing challenges on his journey to the U.S., Gatembo is now on the path to becoming a full-fledged lobsterman, showcasing the potential for immigrants to thrive in new industries.

The influx of immigrants is not without its challenges, with issues of work authorization and economic stability confronting many newcomers. Adriana Hernandez, a mother of four from Venezuela, highlights the economic hardship faced by immigrants awaiting work permits, underscoring the barriers faced by unauthorized workers in integrating into the labor market.

Despite these challenges, the overall impact of immigration on the U.S. economy is significant. Immigrants have helped to bolster job growth, insulate the economy against downturns, and contribute to a more diverse and innovative workforce. Economists predict that immigration will play a crucial role in addressing labor shortages and demographic shifts as the native-born population ages.

The entrepreneurial spirit of immigrants like Chenda Chamreoun, who has risen from lobster cleaning to a quality assurance supervisor and now aims to start her own catering business, showcases the economic potential of foreign-born workers. Immigrants tend to be more entrepreneurial, adding to the innovation and productivity of the American economy.

J. Edward Moreno contributed reporting from New York, and Zolan Kanno-Youngs from Washington.

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