Progeria- aging at triple speed - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Progeria- aging at triple speed

January 11, 2005

by Shannon Samson

Evansville, Indiana --  Progeria is a rare genetic condition that causes children to age rapidly. It is so rare, only one of seven million children in America has it. And one of them lives in Rockport, Indiana.

Cheryl Kennedy got her perfect little girl with little feet and tiny hands. But soon, they became too tiny. And her skin was looking stretched and thin. Finally, a geneticist took one look at Sarah and said a word her parents had never heard before: Progeria.

Scientists believe Progeria is caused by a mutation in the gene called lmna (pronounced lamin-a), which produces a protein that holds the nucleus of a cell together.

When the protein is defective, the cellular instability leads to premature aging and everything that comes with it: high blood pressure, arthritis and increased risk for stroke and heart attack. And then there's the hair loss and transparent skin.

At age one, it's already evident in Sarah. But with no cure in sight, the future is grim. Children with Progeria usually die of heart disease around 13 years of age. And as that year approaches, there are constant reminders that time is running out.

Finding a cure can only be possible with donations to organizations like the Progeria research foundation  . Sarah does some physical therapy to help her with her arthritis. She takes one aspirin a day to ward off heart disease.

posted at 2:25PM by dave.miller@walb.com

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