The common cinephile has probably seen or heard of the movie “Curious Case Of Benjamin Button,” starring Brad Pitt. There, he was born with a disease which turned his life upside down, being born with the appearance of a senior citizen and getting physically younger as he ages. Well, it turns out, that disease is not limited to fiction.
A 6-year-old kid named Yernar Alibekov from Kazakhstan was actually born with such an affliction. It is called Ehlers-Danlos syndromes and Yernar was diagnosed with it the moment he came out of the womb. The syndrome’s effect actually varies per person and circumstance, but Yernar has given him the appearance of a pensioner, an old one.
However, despite his physical appearance’s similarities with Benjamin Button, he is actually not growing in reverse. Yernar’s disease is “a group of disorders that affect connective tissues supporting the skin, bones, blood vessels, and many other organs and tissues,” meaning he will not improve over time by himself, unlike fictional Benjamin.
Yernar’s disease is one that causes the skin to sag at an early age, and is extremely rare, hence doctors often do not know the silver bullet to it. Still, Yernar’s mother, Zibensa Tulepbergenova is now saving up for his surgery. Children under the age of 18 are usually not qualified for a surgery, however, Yernar’s case was quite severe and needed an exception.
Yernar’s doctor, Dr. Olga Loseva believes that despite the surgery, his skin condition will not improve. So Yernar may be at a loss if his skin is naturally saggy like a senior citizen’s since the surgery might get reversed. Loseva then recommends just mitigating the effects of the disease and taking care of Yernar as much as possible.