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Abstract Nowadays those involved in aging research view aging in terms of a genetic disease rather than as a natural evolution-driven process by which the old make way for the young A condition of aged friends and relatives seems terrible to conceive they are afflicted with a ghastly wasting disease a plague whose effects are inescapable because of our own genes People plagued with Werner syndrome do not even have the opportunity to experience this natural progression we call aging instead this disease causes its victims to die of old age by their mid 40s or 50s Introduction Just about everyone dreads the physical decline often associated with aging but people with the rare inherited disease known as Werner syndrome have to face the aging process far sooner than most Unexpectedly while they are still in their early twenties their hair grays their skin loses its suppleness and their vision clouds from cataracts Even worse they get cancer heart disease and a host of other diseases that usually dont strike until later in life Most people afflicted with Werner syndrome die before age 50 Aging experts have long wondered just what kind of molecular defect could cause such a striking acceleration of the aging process Werner Syndrome is a rare progressive disorder that is characterized by the appearance of unusually accelerated aging Although the disorder is typically recognized by the third or fourth decades of life certain characteristic findings are present beginning during childhood adolescence and early adulthood as seen in the picture below Werner Syndrome may also be characterized by development of a distinctive high pitched voice eye abnormalities including premature clouding of the lenses of the eyes due to aging and certain endocrine defects such as impaired functioning of the ovaries in females or testes in males or abnormal production of the hormone insulin by the pancreas and resistance to the effects of insulin In addition individuals with Werner Syndrome develop progressive thickening
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