Benjamin Button syndrome, they act younger as they get older: Tuesday May 1st 2012: Hayden Smith

by Julia Evans on May 1, 2012

Source article:

Brothers hit by rare condition which means they act younger as they get older: The real Benjamin Button:

Author: Hayden Smith:

Published in Metro: Tuesday May 1st 2012

Available here

Comments:

My reason for circulating this, is that this condition is new to me. I have never heard of such a condition before. It is therefore of the 21st century.  Whether I should be hearing of it through a newspaper report is another issue. I felt uncomfortable and as if a voyeur when I looked at their photograph.

This syndrome has been discovered after a film has been made depicting this condition.

Leukodystrophy is diagnosed as a disease, but the cause is never given. Indeed, doctors were surprised that it has occurred in two adult siblings, given it usually affects newborns.  There is no attempt at two questions:

Why did it occur well past babyhood in these two men?

Why has it occurred in two brothers?

It seems there is no treatment for this condition and its cause remains a medical mystery.  This raises many questions for me as to why these men and babies are failing to thrive.

Key sentences:

‘He also has these awful episodes where he screams and shouts and says, “I don’t know what I’m doing”.

‘Because the disease affects his memory, he can’t remember much of who he was.’

They are among 100 people in Britain to be diagnosed with terminal leukodystrophy, which usually affects newborns.

‘At first, we were told doctors thought no one else had this condition and then we found out there are 100 adults in the UK – but no one had heard of it occurring in two siblings.’

Quoted from the article:

Brothers develop Benjamin Button syndrome makes them act like kids

Brothers Matthew and Michael Clark have a rare age-reversing disease which means the older they get the younger they behave. (Regressing: Matthew, left, and his brother Michael are being looked after by their parents after developing terminal leudodystrophy. )

Matthew and Michael, are ‘going back in time into a child-like state’ – like in the film ‘The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button’.

Former RAF serviceman Michael, 42, is now said to have a mental age of ten, while former Walkers Crisps worker Matthew, 39, behaves like a toddler.

Their parents, Anthony and Christine, have been forced to abandon a retirement in Benidorm to look after the pair in Lincoln – and relive their childhood years.

‘It is like Benjamin Button, really. They’ve gone from being fully functioning adults, with jobs, careers and getting married, to going back in time into a child-like state,’ said Mr Clark, 63.

‘Both of them are very childlike now. Matthew went out the other day and bought himself a train set and a Mr Potato Head.

‘We will be out walking and things which might interest a toddler interest them. The other day we were walking home when Michael saw a balloon and pointed it out to us.

‘He also has these awful episodes where he screams and shouts and says, “I don’t know what I’m doing”.

‘Because the disease affects his memory, he can’t remember much of who he was.’

They are among 100 people in Britain to be diagnosed with terminal leukodystrophy, which usually affects newborns.

The neurological condition has devastated their lives and led to the end of Matthew’s marriage, Mr Clark added.

‘Michael was evicted from his flat because he stopped looking after himself,’ he said.

‘Matthew was fired from his job as a factory worker; we can only assume it is because he was behaving like a child.

‘At first, we were told doctors thought no one else had this condition and then we found out there are 100 adults in the UK – but no one had heard of it occurring in two siblings.’

The disease mirrors the plot of the 2008 Brad Pitt film, in which an old man gets younger, rather than growing old.

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Photos available here, titles below:

a) Matthew Clark, left, and his brother Michael have developed a bizarre age-reversing disease

b) Matthew and Michael in Spain in 1982