Werner's syndrome

Tue Jan 28 16:50:07 EST 1992

	I am an undergraduate at MIT and am interested in the internet
news group on ageing. I find it absurd that the newsgroup could be destroyed.
Ageing is going to be an issue that will be the cause of much research and
discussion once the world recognizes that the population growth is highest
in the older age groups. As we rapidly approach the world's human carrying
capacity we are also better able to preserve human life into near maximum
life span potentials. With the growing sector of elderly comes growing 
problems both socially and economically. The news group on ageing can provide
a forum for discussions on the molecular biology  of ageing and the social
problems that the process of ageing causes. Can governments successfully
subsidize care of the elderly? Health care costs in some countries are 
immense. What sorts of segregation will be the upshots of having different
levels of financial abilities amongst the elderly? Is it the elderly's 
responsibility to make sure that the economy doesn't collapse when they 
become unable to work? What can be done to ameliorate the symptoms of ageing.
	I have recently become interested in the disease called Werner's 
syndrome. Like many informative diseases Werner's syndrome is recessively 
genetic. The pathology of Werner's is that the affected get osteoporosis
in the highly used joints of arms and legs, atherosclerosis, graying of the 
hair and wrinkling of the skin, large ulcers where pressure is applied
frequently especially on the feet, a type of rare cataract and many 
different types of sarcomas. All of these symtoms occur long before they would
in a normal human and at times they manifest themselves in the teen-age years.
It would be an important contribution to understand the genetic cause of
such a large grouping of symptoms that are often considered to be caused by
the wear and tear of life. I would like to clone and type the mutation that 
causes Werner's, a big task, but the number of human cases is insufficient 
to do a successful linkage study. I read in "Werner's Syndrome and Ageing" 
that a rabbit was found in the 1960s that  had ulcers on the feet and many
signs of premature ageing characteristics like arteriosclerosis and graying
of the coat and skin.Unfortunately the researchers died and nobody knows
what happened to the Belgian hares that the mutation arose in. A rabbit model
could be the key to understanding Werner's and possibly cell senescence in 
general but I don't know where to go from here.

Any help or interest would be appreciated
Dan Housman 
send to :
house at athena.mit.edu

thanks in advance.

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