17-year-old dies from extremely rare aging disease
Strange genetic disease causes early aging: Sam Berns is now the most well-known face of progeria, an extremely rare, terminal genetic disorder in which sufferers manifest signs of rapid aging in early childhood. On January 10 he died, aged 17.
The only child of Scott Burns and Leslie Gordon, Sam exhibited symptoms at just two months of age and was diagnosed with the disorder just before his second birthday. At that time virtually nobody understood progeria.
But perhaps even more improbable than his condition, both his parents are trained pediatricians and their tireless search to find an effective treatment has led to major breakthroughs.
The condition is one of the world's rarest; researchers believe there that at any given time there are 250 cases worldwide, at most. People with condition live an average age of just 13 and typically die from heart attacks or strokes.
At the time of his death, Sam had been planning to apply to colleges, where he hoped to study genetics or cell biology. Besides his parents, he survived by three grandparents.
NEXT ON TOMONEWS
Big bank HSBC insults customers: ‘Why do you want your money?’