The Medical Lives of History`s Famous People

Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome as an Inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgeraldʼs Fictional Character ʻBenjamin Buttonʼ

Author(s): William James Maloney

Pp: 3-10 (8)

DOI: 10.2174/9781608059362114010004

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


In 1886 Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS) first appeared in the medical literature. An individual with HGPS exhibits many physical characteristics and ailments which are usually associated with the elderly.

F. Scott Fitzgerald published, in 1921, a short story entitled ʻThe Curious Case of Benjamin Button.ʼ The central character of this story is born as an elderly man. It is postulated that Fitzgerald based his character on a real-life individual with HGPS. More importantly, it is theorized that medicine and society has viewed, in the past, these individuals incorrectly. These individuals might actually be experiencing true physical aging in a very accelerated manner.

Keywords: Aging, atrophic skin, Benjamin Button, coxa valga, delayed tooth eruption, F. Scott Fitzgerald, farnesyltransferase inhibitors, genetics, Hutchinson- Gilford Progeria syndrome, hypertension, LMNA, mutation, progerin, prominent eyes, tipifarnib, transcription.

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