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J Dent Res. 2009 Oct;88(10):873-6. doi: 10.1177/0022034509348765.

Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria syndrome: its presentation in F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' and its oral manifestations.

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Cariology and Comprehensive Care, NYU College of Dentistry, 345 E. 24th Street, New York, NY 10010, USA.


Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS) was first documented in the medical literature in 1886. A HGPS patient has the physical characteristics and appearances of an elderly individual. In 1921, F. Scott Fitzgerald published a short story entitled 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'. The main character of Fitzgerald's fictional work is born with a very rare condition in which he looks like an elderly person. The main difference between the fictional individual and individuals with HGPS is that Fitzgerald's character becomes younger as the years go by. This paper serves three purposes. The first purpose is to scientifically present the possibility that Fitzgerald consciously based his character, Benjamin Button, upon individuals with HGPS. The second purpose is to describe the rare condition of HGPS, along with its many manifestations in the head and neck region. The third purpose is to postulate that HGPS individuals might not only have the appearance of an aged person, but also might actually undergo true physical aging, which would enable researchers to gain valuable information into the treatment of ailments commonly associated with the natural process of aging.

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