8-Year-Old Never Ages, Could Reveal 'Biological Immortality'
8-Year-Old Could Hold Secret to Biological Immortality
Eight years after her birth, Gabby Williams' parents still feed her and change her diaper due to a mysterious condition that keeps her forever young.
By Mollie Bloudoff-Indelicato
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Gabby Williams could hold the secret to immortality in her tiny hands.
At age 8, Williams still has the mind and body of an infant. Weighing in at just 11 pounds, she has a disorder so rare that medical professionals have yet to give the genetic abnormality a name, ABCNews.com reported. However, pinpointing the cause of her condition could hold major implications for reducing the affects of aging and age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s.
The Williams family will appear on a TLC special report called 40 Year Old Child: A New Case on Monday at 10 p.m. ET.
"If we could identify the gene and then at young adulthood we could silence the expression… find an off-switch,” Richard F. Walker, a medical researcher at All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, told ABCNews.com. “When you do that, there is perfect homeostasis, and you are biologically immortal."
People would still die from accidents and infections, but the normal processes that causes aging could potentially be stopped.
"Without that process we never develop," Walker told ABCNews.com. "When we develop, all the pieces of our body come together and change and are coordinated. Otherwise, there would be chaos."
The High Cost of Remaining Forever Young
Researchers have identified only a handful of others with symptoms like Williams’. There’s the “29-year-old Florida man with the appearance of a 10-year-old, and a 31-year-old Brazilian woman who still looks like a toddler,”
Of course, there’s a price to pay for remaining forever young. Many of these “Benjamin Button” children have cognitive and physical difficulties. Williams is blind and will never speak, according to a 2011 report.
"Gabrielle hasn't changed since pretty much forever," her mother, Mary Margret Williams, told ABC.
Video: Young Girl May Hold Secret to 'Biological Immortality'
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