Reverse Benjamin Button Disease: What Is It & What Causes It?

Have you ever heard of the term or the movie name Benjamin Button?

Do you know about the disease called the Reverse Benjamin Button Disorder?

Have you ever seen a small or very young child look very old in appearance, and wondered what the condition could be?

If you would like to know a little more about the condition that can cause such sudden ageing in small or young children, today we are talking in detail about it. We first tell you why this condition is known as the Reverse Benjamin Button Disease, we talk about what causes it and what a person with the disease will look like and more about it that can help someone looking for more information about it.

We also talk about Progeria and whether or not it is an inherited disease, if it has any cure, and whether it is common or very rare.

Why is this sickness known as Reverse Benjamin Button Disease? 

This condition is also known as the Reverse Benjamin Button Disease because it causes a condition in which the person ages, but in reverse, and very fast.

  • In this condition, which often affects people when they are very young or are in their childhood, the entire ageing process starts to happen in reverse.
  • The child or person who will have this condition will often age at a very high speed, and can reach up till a hundred years in age, from the outer physical appearance as well as from the condition of their organs and overall body. 
  • As a result, they often reach a hundred years of age even as they are in the early or middle of their teen years.

What is it and what does a person who has it look like?

A genetic mutation is the reason for causing Progeria, or Benjamin Button Disease.

Children who are affected with progeria will be born with regular features and nothing looks out of place. At the time of birth, these babies look outwardly healthy, and there is nothing visible that can immediately lead to a diagnosis of progeria.

However, as the babies begin to grow, they start showing classic symptoms of progeria in the first two years of life itself. Here are some of the most visual signs that can point towards progeria:

what is reverse benjamin button disease
  • The head is significantly bigger than the other parts of the face
  • The eyes are larger and look very big and wide
  • The nose is very thin and has a pointed tip that almost looks like a beak
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    The ears look bigger in proportion to the face and seem to be sticking out
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    The lower jaw looks smaller
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    The veins on the baby or child’s skin are very prominently visible. These could be visible on the face and also on the head.
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    There is also a very slight blue tint around the mouth area.
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    The affected child will have a very high pitched voice.
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    The teeth grow very late than other children and may not always be formed in a perfect alignment as happens in healthier babies.
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    There is a considerable loss of body fat as well as muscles.
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    The child will start to lose out hair from all over the body, including from the head, from the eyebrows and even the eyelashes.

What is the Benjamin Button story, anyway?

  • The Benjamin Button story, which was made into a movie named The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, stars Brad Pitt as Benjamin Button.
  • The movie was based on a story that was originally written by F. Scott Fitzgerald and was first published in the year 1922.
  • Very soon after he is born, Benjamin Button starts showing the physical appearances of an old man, and quickly moves on from being a small child to a very old man, all in his appearance.
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    Once he reaches his oldest age in terms of his appearance, he starts to develop signs of reverse ageing. When he is about twelve years old, he meets a girl called Daisy who comes in and out of his life from childhood through their adulthood.
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    While there are many unusual adventures that Benjamin Button goes through in his life, it is his encounters and gradual development of a very unusual relationship with Daisy that keeps him full of hope and encourages him to look ahead in life, despite the health conditions he is going through.

Progeria is also nicknamed as the Benjamin Button disease because just as was mentioned in the story and was shown in the movie, a child who has progeria also starts to age, and the ageing process in this case is at least 10 times faster than in a person or child who does not have this disease. Because the character of Benjamin Button got so popular through the story and the movie, hence Progeria too is sometimes referred to as the Benjamin Button disease.

What causes Progeria?

progeria gene mutation

It is believed that while progeria is caused by a gene mutation, it is possible that one parent has the mutation that eventually leads to progeria. However, it does not mean that the parent also has progeria. However, if there is one child in the family who does have progeria, there is a chance of about two to three percent that any other child being born in the family will also have progeria.

Is Progeria hereditary?

Yes, progeria can be passed on from a parent who has the particular gene problem to the child, but it does necessarily mean that the parent who has passed it on also has progeria. Also, a parent who actually has Progeria or Reverse Benjamin Button Disease can pass it on to their child.

Progeria Symptoms & Effects

Children who have this condition look aged from the outside, but because their body actually goes through the effects of ageing, they start experiencing other health issues as well, such as the following:

reverse benjamin button disease
  • Joint abnormalities
  • Hard arteries
  • Defects in the nails and nail beds
  • Bone defects
  • Fine lines and wrinkles

Is this disease treatable? Can someone die from this?

Unfortunately, there is no medication or cure for progeria. However, using other means of treatment such as physical therapy and occupational therapy can definitely help to improve the quality of life.

Because the body tends to age really fast than the rate at which it normally would, the many functions and organs give way, and the person suffering from it dies much before they would otherwise if they did not have the disease.

How many people out there have this disease? Is this a rare disorder?

This is a very rare type of disorder that does not affect a lot of people. In fact, from the year 1886, only about 130 people have been known to have been diagnosed with progeria.

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