US boy whose premature aging inspired film dies

A teenager whose battle with a rare genetic condition that accelerates the aging process became the subject of an HBO documentary has died. Sam Berns was 17.

Berns, of Foxborough, Massachusetts, died Friday after complications from Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, commonly known as progeria. The Progeria Research Foundation, which was founded by his parents, announced his death.

Berns was diagnosed with progeria when he was 22 months old. His parents founded the nonprofit foundation after encountering a lack of information and research on the condition, whose victims live an average of 13 years.

The work by his , Leslie Gordon and Scott Berns, who are doctors, on behalf of progeria patients is featured in the "Life According to Sam." The exposure has brought greater recognition to the condition, which causes musculoskeletal degeneration, cardiovascular problems and other symptoms associated with aging.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft mourned Berns' death, saying he had invited the teen to be the football team's honorary captain for Saturday night's playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts and was looking forward to spending time with him and his family.

"I loved Sam Berns and am richer for having known him," Kraft said in a statement Saturday.

Kraft, after being introduced to Berns and attending the HBO premiere of the documentary in New York in October, made a $500,000 matching pledge to the foundation. Berns, a sports fan who was invited to a Patriots practice that month, gave the players an impromptu motivational speech, the Boston Globe reported.

Berns was asked to name his favorite player. He didn't have one. It takes a team to succeed, he said.

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Neuroscientist reveals how nonconformists achieve success

Sep 24, 2008

In a new book, Iconoclast: A Neuroscientist Reveals How to Think Differently (Harvard Business Press, 2008), Gregory Berns, MD, PhD, shows us how the world's most successful innovators think and what we can learn from t ...

A novel look at how stories may change the brain

Dec 23, 2013

Many people can recall reading at least one cherished story that they say changed their life. Now researchers at Emory University have detected what may be biological traces related to this feeling: Actual ...

Multi-dog study points to canine brain's reward center

Dec 04, 2013

After capturing the first brain images of two alert, unrestrained dogs last year, researchers at Emory University have confirmed their methods and results by replicating them in an experiment involving 13 dogs.

Promising treatment for progeria within reach

May 16, 2013

Pharmaceuticals that inhibit a specific enzyme may be useful in treating progeria, or accelerated aging in children. A new study performed at the Sahlgrenska Academy indicates that the development of progeria ...

Recommended for you

Restrictions lifted at British bird flu farm

11 hours ago

Britain on Sunday lifted all restrictions at a duck farm in northern England after last month's outbreak of H5N8 bird flu, the same strain seen in recent cases across Europe.

Recorded Ebola deaths top 7,000

Dec 20, 2014

The worst Ebola outbreak on record has now killed more than 7,000 people, with many of the latest deaths reported in Sierra Leone, the World Health Organization said as United Nations Secretary-General Ban ...

Liberia holds Senate vote amid Ebola fears (Update)

Dec 20, 2014

Health workers manned polling stations across Liberia on Saturday as voters cast their ballots in a twice-delayed Senate election that has been criticized for its potential to spread the deadly Ebola disease.

Evidence-based recs issued for systemic care in psoriasis

Dec 19, 2014

(HealthDay)—For appropriately selected patients with psoriasis, combining biologics with other systemic treatments, including phototherapy, oral medications, or other biologic, may result in greater efficacy ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.