Sunday, January 15, 2006

progeria

Progeria is a genetic disorder that causes children to age at a greatly accelerated rate. Until age six months, they appear normal. Then they begin to lose their hair, including eyebrows and eyelashes, their joints bulge, bones begin to disintegrate, muscles shrivel, the skin wrinkles, and they grow thin. By early teens, the victims look as if they are in their nineties and soon die, usually of atherosclerosis, a disease of the elderly.
Researchers are studying progeria cases in hope of learning what causes the aging process. Some scientists believe that aging is inevitable and is written in our genetic code. Others believe that aging is a disease of the immunological system and can be altered.
Research into aging is at a very early stage but workers in the field believe that understanding progeria will help aging research.
Dolnick, E. "Pioneering Research On the Aging Process Yields Contradictory Theories, Prospects," in Aging, Goldstein, E. C., ed. Vol. 2, Art. 39. Boca Raton, Fl.: Social Issues Resource Series, Inc., 1981.

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