Real Life. Real News. Real Voices.
Help us tell more of the stories that matter from voices that too often remain unheard.
Join HuffPost Plus

Progeria Studies Shed Light On Rare Premature Aging Disorder

New research could offer help to kids with a rare condition that causes them to age at 10 times the normal rate.

Signs of progeria -- which include hair loss, a disproportionally large head, visible veins, stiff joints and hip dislocation -- usually begin to show right around a child's first birthday. The condition, known formally as Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, is caused by an excess of the protein progerin, a protein that we all have that (in lower amounts) that destroys cells to bring about the aging process.

But a new study in the journal Science Translational Research in people with progeria shows that this protein has an on-and-off switch, giving scientists insight into how people, even without the syndrome, age, CBS News reports.

There is currently no established cure for progeria, but the research shows that an immune-suppressing drug called rapamycin could be promising in clearing progerin from cells, thereby stopping the aging process, Science reported.