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Friday, April 17, 2009

The World's Oldest Baby

No ladies, this is not a post about your husbands. This is the curious case of India's Jerly Lyngdoh, a 26-year old man with a 2-year old's body and a 65-year old's teeth. Lyngdoh's entire body is perfectly proportioned for a toddler. It is not until he smiles that you realize Jerly Lyngdoh is... different.

Lyngdoh suffers from a condition which is basically the opposite of progeria (the super-advanced aging disease); it is not a stunted-growth case. A pediatrician, working with a colleague, who examined him said, "We think this is a case of pan-hypo pituitarism leading to poor secretion of growth hormones from the pituitary gland." He then called Jerly Lyngdoh "a genuine rarity."

You can see his teeth are already rotting, and Lyngdoh also suffers from seizures. He is possessed of the mental capacities befitting a child and cannot speak. Jerly is entirely dependent on his mother. Jerly's maternal grandparents even considered him a curse on the family and urged his mother to wack him!

While his condition might have been treatable had it been caught earlier, his poor, illiterate, agrarian parents did not have the money to pursue medical treatment. His mother did take him to a traditional healer, but the healer was unable to cure him of his epilepsy. The examining team eliminated genetics as a factor, as none of Lyngdoh's six siblings suffer any abnormalities.

A charity helped his mother, Merilda, get him to a reputable medical facility, where he was closely studied for 17 months before being moved to a more advanced hospital. The team overseeing his treatment and studying his condition are hoping to get help from the larger medical community.

© C Harris Lynn, 2009

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