Health Buzz: IVF Pioneer Wins Nobel Prize for Medicine

Wrinkle creams: worth it or not?; beware free trials of anti-aging products sold online.

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Scientist Who Developed IVF Wins Nobel Prize for Medicine

The world's first "test tube" baby was born in 1978, following more than 20 years of efforts by British scientist Robert Edwards, who today won the 2010 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for his development of in vitro fertilization to treat infertility. More than four million children have since been born using IVF, The New York Times reports. The procedure involves mixing eggs and sperm outside the body, and then returning the embryo to the womb to resume development into a full-fledged fetus. Infertility affects about 10 percent of all couples, according to the prize committee. IVF initially faced criticism, including opposition from churches and governments, before it became a routine treatment for couples who have tried other options for infertility but have been unsuccessful. "A new field of medicine has emerged, with Robert Edwards leading the process all the way from the fundamental discoveries to the current, successful IVF therapy. His contributions represent a milestone in the development of modern medicine," the Nobel prize citation reads.

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  • Wrinkle Creams: Worth It or Not?

    You don't have to venture far into your corner drugstore or local department store to find shelves full of creams and serums promising to add to your store of collagen. Is there any science behind the claims that they'll give you a tighter, more youthful look? Yes, with caveats, writes U.S. News contributor Arlene Weintraub.

    Many cosmetic creams have been shown to stimulate production of collagen, a key protein in the skin vital to its firmness and elasticity. And though they may not be as powerful against wrinkles as collagen injections, Botox, and plastic surgery, the creams can be worthy alternatives to more invasive procedures, says Maria Tsoukas, an assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Chicago. They're gentler on the pocketbook, too.

    One ingredient to look for: amino acids called "pentapeptides." Early research on these substances showed that they helped heal wounds; because they also stimulate the skin to make more collagen, they can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, too.

    Some pentapeptide products, including Olay Regenerist, also contain hyaluronic acid, another ingredient that has been shown to restore structure and volume to the skin. And many dermatologists swear by retinol, a derivative of vitamin A. At prescription strengths, it's used to fight acne, but the retinol in over-the-counter creams such as Neutrogena Healthy Skin and RoC Retinol Correxion seems to revive skin by building collagen, shrinking pores, and lightening age spots. Tsoukas recommends using retinol products at night, and slathering on a moisturizer with sunscreen during the day, both to prevent future damage and because retinol can make skin extra sensitive to the sun. "These regimens are fantastic, but it's important to use some sun protection," she says. [Read more: Wrinkle Creams: Worth It or Not?]

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    • Beware Free Trials of Anti-Aging Products Sold on the Web

      Kathleen Cole was browsing an Internet drugstore when an ad popped up too tantalizing to resist. A company called Syndero was featuring a 14-day free trial of Dermitàge, a cream that promised to fade wrinkles and restore youthful-looking skin. Cole, 70, was happy with how she looked, but what, she wondered, did she have to lose? So she handed over her credit card number with the understanding that it wouldn't be charged unless she was sold on Dermitàge at the end of the trial.

      What Cole didn't realize was that she had actually just agreed to pay $99 a month for monthly shipments, and that the free-trial clock would start ticking the day the product shipped. Only because she suffered an allergic reaction and called to ask how to return the cream did Cole find out about these details—and that she had just five days left to send the product back in order to avoid the charges. "It was so hidden within the jargon of the fine print that I missed it, and I have a master's degree," says Cole, a freelance book editor in Denver. She did have to shell out $50 to ship the cream back to the company's Canadian warehouse, and to be safe, she put a block on her credit card to ensure that there'd be no chance of surprises later.