Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome as an Inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgeraldʼs Fictional Character ʻBenjamin Buttonʼ
Pp. 3-10 (8)
William James Maloney
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.
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.
New York University College of Dentistry 345 First Avenue New York NY 10010 USA.