Changes in cholesterol may speed up heart disease inpatients with progeria. Because progeria is a genetic diseasethat accelerates the aging process, these patients are more atrisk for cardiovascular problems. A study, reported in the Journalof Pediatrics (March 2005), found that decreased levels of high-densitylipoprotein (HDL; "good") cholesterol might factor intoearly heart disease in these children.
The researchers also noted that adiponectin, a hormone thatregulates the metabolism of fat and sugar, may be associatedwith the disease process. They examined the cholesterol levelsin children with the disease and those without it. The results ofthe study showed that children with progeria had decreased levelsof HDL cholesterol and adiponectin in their middle and lateryears, compared with children without the disease. The investigatorshypothesized that low HDL and adiponectin may add tofaster plaque formation.