Family takes on progeria in ‘Life According to Sam’ | Science News

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Family takes on progeria in ‘Life According to Sam’

Documentary portrays an extraordinary search for a cure

8:55am, October 19, 2013

A new film about Sam Berns (shown) portrays life with progeria, a premature aging disease, and the research race to cure it.   

At the beginning of Life According to Sam, Sam Berns is 13. He builds elaborate Lego structures and loves Dave Matthews Band. As the film progresses we learn that Sam desperately wants a place in his high school marching band’s drum line. He’s a straight-A student with ambitions to be an inventor, he says, “kind of like Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs combined.”

In every way but one, Sam is like other smart kids his age. He is one of an estimated 200 to 250 children in the world with a premature aging disease called progeria. Kids with the disease have an average life expectancy of 13 years old, so Sam is already living on borrowed time.

The documentary follows Sam and his parents, Leslie Gordon and Scott Berns, over three years as Gordon, a medical researcher, leads a clinical trial of a drug that could improve some of the symptoms of progeria (

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