A recent TLC Documentary titled, “40-Year old Child: A New Case” features Gabby Williams, who lives with a mysterious medical condition that prevents her from growing and aging.
She is almost nine years old, but her body is that of a newborn baby. Her condition is so rare, it has no name. It has only been seen in a handful of patients around the world. Two years ago her family embarked on a journey to find out why her daughter wasn’t growing. According to the documentary, state of the art medical testing failed to provide doctors with a diagnosis. Now, new cases have emerged that could shed light on this unusual syndrome:
- A 29-year-old Florida man had the body of a 10-year old
- A 31-year-old Brazilian woman with the body of a 2-year old.
- A 16-year old who is the size of a toddler. [Link]
According to medical researcher, Richard F Walker, “The rate of change in the body slows and is negligible.” In one of the girls, he found damage to one of the genes that causes developmental inertia (physiological change). He postulates, “If we could identify the gene and then at young adulthood we could silence the expression of developmental inertia, find an off-switch, when you do that, there is perfect homeostasis and you are biologically immortal.” Here is a link to the 40 minute documentary
By contrast, in Telomere Timebombs (Chapter 7, Aging Fast, Slow or Not at All), I discuss how aging is a very abstract concept, just like truth and beauty. I also discuss how aging slowly isn’t magic, but rather maintenance. An example I give is Irv Gordon’s beloved 1966 Volvo P1800. Mr. Gordon has cared for his Volvo since purchasing it in 1966, and has driven it nearly 3 million miles! So how old is the car? 40-something? 3-million miles old? -Or is it brand new because it has brand-new replacement parts? Some say that we humans don’t have the same cells we had seven years ago. I don’t know about that, but I literally bet my life that if you keep telomeres from eroding, you would age a lot slower.
Irv Gordon in his “brand new” 3-million mile 1966 Volvo P1800