Progeria researchers, anyone?

I received a very nice email from a high school student looking for a mentor for a research project on progeria:

Currently, I’m in a science research program at school where we choose a topic of interest and study it for a period of three years, as well as design an experiment and carry it out based on this topic. Eventually, students are able to present their work for competition purposes or just to share their knowledge in symposia or other forums, such as the Intel Science Competition, or the Siemens Competition.

I am studying Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome for my project and have been researching it intensively for the past five months. During the next couple months or so, I need to gather as much information as I can regarding the disorder to give myself insight into potential experimental designs. At this point, I also need to locate a mentor in this field of study. Hopefully, with the guidance of my mentor, I can carry out an experiment and eventually present my results at a variety of symposia.

So, she’s looking for a mentor. If anyone out there works on progeria, or knows a colleague who does (and would be willing to help out a HS student), it would be appreciated if you’d drop me an email so I can pass along that information.


  1. #1 Fleming
    February 23, 2008

    According to Wikipedia

    One study from the Netherlands has shown an incidence of 1 in 4 million.

    Why even worry about this, since it is so rare?

    Approximately 100 cases have been formally identified in medical history. Currently, there are only 51 known cases in the world

    51 cases out of 6 Billion people? Probably, many more people die of slipping in the bathtub.

    Tell the high school kid to focus on something “clinically relevant”

  2. #2 Tara C. Smith
    February 23, 2008

    Fleming, I realize this may escape your attention, but by investigating diseases like progeria, we can also learn more about things like how aging works–which applies to far more people than just those who suffer from the condition.

  3. #3 Fleming
    February 23, 2008

    … we can also learn more about things like how aging works–..

    How aging works? Pretty simple, Tara, you get old

  4. #4 cooler
    February 24, 2008

    How about instead of focusing on microbes that are in 1/10000 cells and dont do jack in animals focus on microbes that can be photographed rotting patients organs, mycoplasma incognitus/penetrans, and kill every animal inoculated.

    The military scientists including their head infectious disease pathologist Shyh ching lo MD phd and Col douglas wear all come out to say hiv is harmless by itself, and that its only this mycoplasma thats pathenogenic in humans. Spreading through the population, this is in half of CFS patients, part of the biological weapons program………..Project Day Lily……… it.

  5. #5 Left_Wing_Fox
    February 24, 2008

    Wish I could help. Maybe it would be possible to contact the authors of the papers in Nature listed in the footnotes of the Wikipedia Article?

  6. #6 joe
    February 24, 2008

    L W Fox, that is a good suggestion. As for the Idiot Twins- get a dollar, go to the store, and buy a clue.

    If nobody can be found, perhaps someone (not me) in a position to just be a mentor could suggest something related.

    Tara, thanks for trying to help that student.

  7. #7 gary
    February 24, 2008

    My fother-in-law died from an auto-immune disease which if I remember correctly had only been diagnosed in eight previous cases. His personal physician for several years was a distinguished professor at UT Medical School. Somehow, I doubt that professor thought he was wasting his time on such a rare disease.

  8. #8 response
    February 24, 2008

    I noticed that a previous comment stated that this high school student should focus on something more clinically relevant. I respect your viewpoint. Progeria syndrome affects one in four to eight million children and there are 51, maybe less cases in the world today. Why waste precious resources on fifty-one anonymous lives, why spend time, money, and energy on such a rare point-mutation that has such a low probability of occurring? Because in fifty-one homes, the inevitability of a child’s death is present. Fifty-one children know that they physically differ from other children of their age. Their minds are not affected by the disease, most of them know exactly what is happening to them. Every life counts for something. When a child is born, parents hope for great things in that child’s future. When a diagnosis of a progressive, eventually fatal, disease is given to them after one year of the child’s life, those hopes are limited. Patients are innocent children who do not deserve to die without experiencing life to its fullest. Progeria may be a rare disease, but it strongly affects those fifty-one patients each day and hurts their families even more. Every medical advance has been gained because someone cared about an issue. If a disease is rare, does it mean that there should be no compassion for its victims? Only the majority should be helped? What happens to the rest? The rest cannot be completely forgotten, no matter how small in number. Thank you Dr. Smith for assisting.

  9. #9 cooler
    February 25, 2008

    if you werent a junior college dropout I might take offense to what you said

  10. #10 Rrr
    February 25, 2008

    @ cooler:
    And if you weren’t so offensive yourself, someone might even care if you did take offense. So there.

  11. #11 Joe
    February 25, 2008

    “joe [sic],
    if [sic] you werent [sic] a junior college dropout I might take offense to what you said [sic]”

    We prefer to call them “community” colleges. Among other things, they teach English composition- including capitalization and punctuation.

  12. #12 John Marley
    February 25, 2008

    I used to think nuts like cooler and Fleming were funny, but now they’re just sad.

  13. #13 Maritza
    April 25, 2012

    Im also a highschool student, and I have to do an experiment on ths disease also .. which i realize i made a mistake because it’s hard i cant choose another topic anymore so if anyone has any idea for me i’d appreciate the help or suggestions, thank you.

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