The Battle Against Aging/Of Hyperaging and Methuselah Genes; The Quest to Beat Aging; Scientific American Presents; by Evelyn Strauss; 4 Page(s)
Three-year-old Sam likes to feel starfish in his hands, and you can just forget about changing the subject when he's discussing planets. But Sam is not quite your average toddler. He's almost bald, his seven teeth don't align properly, and he is smaller than his peers. So far these are the only clues that he has Hutchinson-Gilford syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that mimics some aspects of aging.
No one can predict what course Sam's disease will take, but children with Hutchinson-Gilford syndrome typically develop arthritis and grow slowly. Their skin becomes thin, and age spots and prominent veins emerge. Most acquire severe atherosclerosis that can thwart blood flow to the brain and other organs. About 50 percent of afflicted children die of heart disease or stroke by their early teens.