Girl That Won’t Age Might Hold the Key to Alzheimer’s Disease
The cure to Alzheimer’s disease may very well live inside of 8-year-old Gabby Williams. Gabby has a rare condition called “biological immortality,” and as a result still looks and lives like a baby. She lives in a small suburb of Bilings, Montana with her family. She has never aged and only weighs 11 pounds. Her parents, John and Mary-Margaret Williams, still have to bathe, hold and feed her and yes, Gabby is still in diapers.
Margaret said that her daughter has not really ever changed. She’s finally stretched out a little and can finally wear clothes sized 3-6 months. She says it’s as if her daughter is immortal because she never ages.
Richard Walker, medical researcher, has been studying Gabby for the past two years. He said that she is the recipient of a rare genetic condition that only a few people have; biological immortality. He says that something happens within them that causes their developmental process to retard. When this happens their bodily rate of change slows down so much that it becomes insignificant.
Walker is also studying two other patients, a 29-year-old Florida man that’s stuck in a 10-year old body and a Brazilian woman who is 31-years-old and lives in a 2-year-old’s body. They will all appear in a show on TLC called “40 Year Old Child: A New Case”. This show will air on Monday, August 19 at 10pm.
Walker has discovered that one of Gabby’s genes is damaged. He says that if he can properly identify which gene is damaged they could use it to shut down a person’s aging process. Once an individual reaches young adulthood if they could find a way to switch that particular gene off they could manually create a controlled type of biological immortality.
They could also use this discovery to help fight Alzheimer’s disease and allow people to remain their age of choice forever. Basically, people would stop aging once they reach their maturation peak. Once everything developed a person would just stay that way. They would eventually die due to normal diseases, gun violence, accidents, or other ‘acts of God’. Even then they would be at their peak physically as opposed to the ‘dying daily’ process that humans currently experience.
Walker who is now retired from the University of Florida Medical School performs his research in St. Petersburg at All Children’s Hospital. He says that he’s spent his entire career being focused on the aging process; not the consequences of the aging process but the cause of it.
The people that he is currently studying have been forced to live with a host of other medical conditions such as deafness or the inability to speak, walk or even eat. Their growth rate is one fifth the speed of people without this condition.
Gabby’s situation is very rare but not hereditary. It has only surfaced a few times in the world. As a result her doctors cannot say what her life span will look like.
Gabby’s mother said that from the time Gabby was born she didn’t anticipate her to be around very long. Now she is almost nine-years-old and has already surpassed her expectations. She said she doesn’t worry about how long or short Gabby’s life will be because she trusts that God a plan for her. She said when God is ready to take Gabby back, it will definitely be sad but also a glorious thing for Gabby to go on to heaven. She knows that is bound to happen but she hopes it’s not soon.
After each of Gabby’s younger siblings was born, they became toddlers and kept progressing while Gabby stayed the same. Her chromosomes are normal, but she has cognitive deficiencies; Gabby is blind and not expected to ever talk.
Gabby has three siblings: Sophia is 9-years-old, Anthony is 6-years-old, Aleena is 5-years-old and another 2-year-old sister. None of the other children have shown any signs of abnormality.
Gabby’s parents don’t view her as a curse but a blessing; One who may one day reveal the long awaited answer for the debilitating Alzheimer’s disease.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)