Encyclopedia > Progeria

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Progeria is an extremely rare genetic condition which causes physical changes that resemble greatly accelerated aging in sufferers. It is an autosomal recessive[?] condition and effects around 1 in 8 million newborns.

The condition was first identified in 1886 by Jonathan Hutchinson and Hastings Gilford. The condition was later named Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria syndrome, the name was derived from the Greek for "prematurely old". Around 100 cases have been definitely identified since then.

The condition is distinguished by limited growth, alopecia and a characteristic appearance with small face and jaw and pinched nose. Later the condition causes wrinkled skin, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular problems. Mental development is unaffected. Individuals with the condition rarely live more than 16 years, the longest recorded life-span is 21 years. The development of symptoms is comparable to aging at a rate six to eight times faster than normal, although certain age related conditions do not occur.

Compare: Werner syndrome[?]

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