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“There is indeed potential that people can be healthier in old age,” Hadley said. “But it still requires evidence about what’s going to help and what’s not.”

Hormone drugs can be expensive. HGH shots can cost more than $15,000 a year, according to the institute. A hormone-based dietary supplement known as DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), a precursor of estrogen and testosterone, is marketed online for $12.95 per capsule by Utah-based NutraScriptives.

Some proponents say over-the-counter DHEA supplements can improve energy and strength, boost immunity and decrease fat. The institute says there’s no conclusive scientific evidence of any such benefits.

Life says he’s a staunch advocate of exercise and healthy eating, but insists that hormone replacement therapy, under a doctor’s supervision, is a crucial addition for some men, and that includes him.

“There’s no way I could look and feel the way I do if all I had done the last 13 years was exercise and eat right,” he said. “Even if you do everything right, if you have a deficiency in testosterone, you will lose the fight.”

Life acknowledged that the cost of testosterone replacement, probably more than $5,000 year and not covered by insurance, could be daunting for some. But he contends the investment pays off in more vitality.

“It’s hard to put on price on good health,” he says.

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Cosmetic Surgery:

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, there were 13.1 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures performed in the U.S. in 2010, a 77 percent increase over a decade.

One notable trend is increased preference for less invasive procedures that enable patients to get back to work and social settings without a long leave of absence.

The most popular of these is treatment with the wrinkle-smoothing drugs Botox or Dysport. They account for 5.4 million procedures, averaging about $400 per treatment. Other popular noninvasive procedures include soft-tissue facial fillers, chemical peels and microdermabrasion.

More invasive procedures come at a higher price. Face-lifts can run from $6,000 to $15,000; the plastic surgeons' academy reported performing 112,000 of them in 2010.

Dr. Peter Schmid, who runs a cosmetic surgery practice in Longmont, Colo., says his field is flourishing because of evolving attitudes among appearance-conscious boomers. A recent Associated Press-LifeGoesStrong.com poll found that 1 in 5 boomers either have had or would consider cosmetic surgery.

“Cosmetic surgery has become table talk at home. There’s a lot of satisfaction and acceptance from people who’ve had it, friend to friend, word of mouth,” Schmid said.

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