Rare Disease Ages Kids Rapidly

Collins has joined forces with Elixir Pharmaceuticals, a Massachusetts-based company that had been researching the genes of healthy centenarians in the hope of learning more about symptoms of aging, like heart disease and arteriosclerosis. The company intends to compare what it knows about the centenarians with DNA samples from the young progeria patients.

One Day at a Time

Now 7, Sam acts just like any child his age.

"I see somebody who's funny and smart and happy and jumping around and being a kid like he should be," says Gordon.

However, Sam has the body of a 70-year-old, and is starting to feel some of the effects of premature aging, including poor eyesight and stiffness in his joints. He has not, fortunately, had any or the more serious afflictions, such as a stroke.

"None of us know what's going to happen to us," says Gordon. "We take it one day at a time. Just like every other family. We enjoy every day."

Like any 7-year-old, Sam is taking it one day at a time too — or at least one play date at a time. His parents remember a day when Sam came home saying another little boy had been asking why he had no hair. Sam's response? "Yeah, yeah, tell me something I don't know. Let's go play."

For more information, go to www.progeriaresearch.org.

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