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Werner Syndrome

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

Important

It is possible that the main title of the report Werner Syndrome is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

Synonyms

  • Progeria of Adulthood
  • WNS
  • WS
  • Atypical Werner Syndrome

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Werner Syndrome is a rare progressive disorder that is characterized by the appearance of unusually accelerated aging (progeria). Although the disorder is typically recognized by the third or fourth decades of life, certain characteristic findings are present beginning during adolescence and early adulthood.



Individuals with Werner Syndrome have an abnormally slow growth rate, and there is cessation of growth at puberty. As a result, affected individuals have short stature and low weight relative to height. By age 25, those with the disorder typically experience early graying (canities) and premature loss of scalp hair (alopecia). As the disease progresses, additional abnormalities include loss of the layer of fat beneath the skin (subcutaneous adipose tissue); severe wasting (atrophy) of muscle tissue in certain areas of the body; and degenerative skin changes, particularly in the facial area, the upper arms and hands, and the lower legs and feet (distal extremities). Due to degenerative changes affecting the facial area, individuals with Werner Syndrome may have unusually prominent eyes, a beaked or pinched nose, and/or other characteristic facial abnormalities.



Werner Syndrome may also be characterized by development of a distinctive high-pitched voice; eye abnormalities, including premature clouding of the lenses of the eyes (bilateral senile cataracts); and certain endocrine defects, such as impaired functioning of the ovaries in females or testes in males (hypogonadism) or abnormal production of the hormone insulin by the pancreas and resistance to the effects of insulin (non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus). In addition, individuals with Werner syndrome may develop progressive thickening and loss of elasticity of artery walls (arteriosclerosis). Affected blood vessels typically include the arteries that transport oxygen-rich (oxygenated) blood to heart muscle (coronary arteries). Some affected individuals may also be susceptible to developing certain benign (noncancerous) or malignant tumors. Progressive arteriosclerosis, malignancies, and/or associated abnormalities may result in potentially life-threatening complications by approximately the fourth or fifth decade of life. Werner syndrome is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait.

Resources

March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation

1275 Mamaroneck Avenue

White Plains, NY 10605

Tel: (914)997-4488

Fax: (914)997-4763

Tel: (888)663-4637

Email: Askus@marchofdimes.com

Internet: http://www.marchofdimes.com



Progeria Research Foundation, Inc.

2 Bourbon Street

Suite 208

Peabody, MA 01960

USA

Tel: (978)535-2594

Fax: (978)535-5849

Email: info@progeriaresearch.org

Internet: http://www.progeriaresearch.org



NIH/National Institute on Aging

31 Center Drive, MSC 2292

Building 31

Room 5C27

Bethesda, MD 20892

Tel: (301)496-1752

Fax: (301)496-1072

Tel: (800)222-2225

TDD: (800)222-4225

Email: bapquery@nia.nih.gov

Internet: http://www.nih.gov/nia



NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Office of Communications and Government Relations

6610 Rockledge Drive, MSC 6612

Bethesda, MD 20892-6612

Tel: (301)496-5717

Fax: (301)402-3573

Tel: (866)284-4107

TDD: (800)877-8339

Email: ocpostoffice@niaid.nih.gov

Internet: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/



International Registry of Werner Syndrome

University of Washington Department of Pathology

Box 357470

Health Science Building Room K543

1959 NE Pacific Street

Seattle, WA 98195-7470

Tel: (206)543-5088

Fax: (206)685-8356

Email: dru2@u.washington.edu

Internet: http://www.wernersyndrome.org/registry/registry.html



Rare Cancer Alliance

1649 North Pacana Way

Green Valley, AZ 85614

USA

Internet: http://www.rare-cancer.org



Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

PO Box 8126

Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126

Tel: (301)251-4925

Fax: (301)251-4911

Tel: (888)205-2311

TDD: (888)205-3223

Internet: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/



Cancer.Net

American Society of Clinical Oncology

2318 Mill Road Suite 800

Alexandria, VA 22314

Tel: (571)483-1780

Fax: (571)366-9537

Tel: (888)651-3038

Email: contactus@cancer.net

Internet: http://www.cancer.net/



For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site www.rarediseases.org or email orphan@rarediseases.org

Last Updated:  1/4/2012

Copyright  1986, 1990, 1994, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2009, 2012 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

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