Thursday, February 4, 2010

Rare ailment makes girl, 13, look like she’s 50

Zara Hartshorn has lipodystrophy, which makes her look old before her time
For some folks, turning 50 can trigger a midlife crisis. But due to a cruel blow of nature, Zara Hartshorn is forced to deal with it at the tender age of 13.
Though barely a teen, Zara has the appearance of a 50-year-old, something that saps her confidence just when most young people are striving for self-esteem. The Rotherham, England, teen suffers from lipodystrophy, a syndrome that causes the supporting fatty tissue under the skin to crumble even while the skin continues to grow, often at an alarming rate.
The hereditary condition is extremely rare — only about 2,000 people around the world have it — and for Zara, it has devastating social effects.

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