Thirteen-year-old Zara Hartshorn has a rare genetic condition that makes her look much, much older than her years. She has the face of a grown woman, gaunt and wrinkled. But she's a frightened teen inside.
Zara Hartshorn has been robbed of her childhood. Her mom took her out of school because the bullying was so bad. A bus driver laughed in her face recently when she tried to pay the child's fare. Strangers stare and point in the street. Kids call her "grandma," "monkey" and "baggy face."
Zara is 13 but has a rare genetic condition that makes her look much, much older than her years. She has the face of a grown woman, gaunt and wrinkled. But she's a frightened teen inside.This disease affects only about 2000 people on the planet
"It feels like people are looking down their noses at me and staring," she said at her home in northern England. "You know when you get that feeling you're being watched? I feel that everywhere I go."
Zara's mother, Tracey Pollard, feels her pain: She, too, was born with lipodystrophy.
Pollard, 41, noticed the tell-tale signs in Zara's face at birth. "I was grieving for a child that's got to go through the same things in life that I've had to go through," she said. "I was angry at myself for actually having Zara." Lipodystrophy is a genetic disease. It is hereditary. It robs the body of the ability to produce fat cells beneath the skin.
"Fatty tissue doesn't grow right," Dr. Donald Kotler of St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital in New York City said. "Normal fatty tissues shrink, making people look sort of old and wrinkled and abnormal." Lipodystrophy can also bring on diabetes and, later in life, heart disease, stroke and liver problems.
There is no cure for lipodystrophy. "What you're left trying to do is to manage it," Kotler said. "It's bad enough in an adult, but I would think for a child it would be devastating."
Pollard's first child, Gareth, was born healthy. So Tracey thought her kids would be safe. Two of her younger children showed only very mild symptoms. Then Zara, the youngest, was born.
When asked what she feels when she sees her own face in the mirror, Zara said, "I don't like it. Sometimes I'll sit in my room and start pulling my skin back, stuff like that. Most teenagers worry about getting spots. ... I'm worried about surgery and stuff like that and when's bullying going to stop."
Zara lives at home with her mom, sisters and a brother. There is, of course, the usual rough-and-tumble and sibling bickering one would expect in a large family. But, Zara said, she feels safe and loved. No one makes fun of her, unlike every time she steps outside her front door, where she's scared.
Zara was, she said, a confident little girl. Then at age 5, the bullying started. "The kids started calling me names," she said.
Zara went home in tears. "I asked my mom why I was different," she said.
As she grows older, Zara's anxiety has increased. She lives in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, in a hardscrabble, deprived neighborhood. Life here is tough. For her, it's tougher.
"I want a face-lift," she said.
Her mother had surgery when she was a teenager in an effort to smooth her wrinkled face. But, Pollard said, it didn't help much. "My expectations were too high," she said. "I thought I would look like a normal kid ... but I didn't." Her appearance has had a huge impact on her life, she said. She has low self-esteem, has never had a career and has suffered a string of abusive relationships.
"I don't want [Zara] ending up like me," she said. "Surrounding herself with seven, eight or however many kids just to feel loved. ... And she doesn't need to go from one man to another looking for something she'll never find."
When she's older, Zara said, she wants to be a beauty therapist. Her mother, a single parent who lives on benefits, is supportive.
"You always have hope and your dreams," Pollard said. "No one can take that away from you no matter how bad they treat you."
For now, Zara's dream, she said, is to walk down the street without people staring at her, to feel young again.
A new “anti-rape” condom could protect women in dangerous areas from being attacked. The device is a female condom filled with sharp, microscopic barbs that will attach themselves to flesh. The theory is that while the attacker is stunned and doubled-over with pain, the woman will have a chance to flee the scene before the rapist has a chance to do further damage to her. Once it latches on to the skin, the condom can only be removed surgically, which will mean that attackers will have to go to the hospital and risk getting caught.
World Cup health workers are putting the bite on rapists ahead of June's finals in South Africa with 30,000 anti-rape condoms that grab an attacker's manhood with razor sharp teeth.
The Rape-aXe sheaths are worn inside a woman's vagina and contain rows of teeth causing agony for any man who tries to force sex on the wearer.
The barbs point backwards like snakes' teeth, making them impossible to remove without help.
Inventor Sonnet Ehlers says the device can only be removed surgically which would immediately identify a rapist to police and emergency services.
"Some people call them a medieval device but rape is a medieval act," said Dr Ehlers.
Seems like a great way to catch a rapist, but wouldn't it be better if we could stop women from being raped in the first place? That's where I see the biggest problem with this condom, the woman has to be raped for it to work.Yesboleh suggest Women to wear Chastity Belt instead.
A one-woman mission to prove breasts don't cause earthquakes has swollen into a shirt-straining global movement preparing for the inaugural "Boobquake". Iranian cleric Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi angered womens' groups around the world on Monday when he claimed that promiscuous women were responsible for literally making the earth move. "Many women who do not dress modestly ... lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes,'' Sedighi said.
"What can we do to avoid being buried under the rubble?'' he asked during a prayer sermon on Friday. "There is no other solution but to take refuge in religion and to adapt our lives to Islam's moral codes.''
Jennifer McCreight is determined to prove him wrong. Since launching the "Boobquake" Facebook page two days ago, she has enlisted more than 20,000 women promising to show as much cleavage as possible on Monday, April 26. If the world doesn't then disappear into an apocalyptic fiery chasm, then Sedighi will have no option but to admit he was wrong. "On Monday, April 26th, I will wear the most cleavage-showing shirt I own," Ms McCreight wrote. "Yes, the one usually reserved for a night on the town.
"I encourage other female skeptics to join me and embrace the supposed supernatural power of their breasts. Or short shorts, if that's your preferred form of immodesty. With the power of our scandalous bodies combined, we should surely produce an earthquake. If not, I'm sure Sedighi can come up with a rational explanation for why the ground didn't rumble."
It seems the party girl is never far from the spotlight.
It’s official – Paris Hilton and Doug Reinhardt have split. But why can’t the hotel heiress find Mr. Right?
Reality TV star Doug confirmed that their 14-month relationship is over, but insisted the break-up is amicable.
He said: “Despite what many of the uninformed tabloid journalists are saying, Paris and I met at her house last night and have decided to split.
“It’s unfortunate that things are being said about us that are inaccurate. I continue to wish her only the best.”
It has been previously claimed that Paris dumped Doug earlier this month as she was worried he was just using her to help his career.
Either way, she has sought refuge with her parents as she gets to grips with another love failure.
Paris tweeted: “At my parents house getting ready for a girl's night out! :) [sic]”
The 29-year-old socialite seems to be seeking comfort in the arms of her family in the wake of the separation, which is said to have happened weeks ago.
On Wednesday night she went for dinner with her family, including grandfather Barron Hilton and Kathy, at Hollywood restaurant Dan Tana’s.
In a series of tweets, she said: “At my favorite italian restaurant with my grandpa and family... I love my grandpa, we had such a lovely time with him and dinner tonite. He is the best grandpa in the world!
Many of us are familiar with Botox being used for reducing wrinkles in facial skin. Botox works by paralyzing the muscles of the face that surround the eyes creating crow’s feet or between the eyes creating a furrow. IT may get rid of your wrinkles — but cost you your friends. Women who use Botox are sending the wrong social signals because their frozen facial muscles make it difficult for them to express the normal range of emotions.
A new study suggests that Botox users struggle to frown, look angry or sad and may even be unable to show empathy — for example, when told about a family death.
Scientists warn that the anti-wrinkle treatment could turn into a modern social hazard, capable of damaging relationships.
David Havas, a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who led the study, says his research proves Charles Darwin’s theory that facial expression is an important factor in producing emotion in the brain.
The findings, to be published in the journal Psychological Science, monitored the speed at which 40 volunteers processed written statements with an emotional message before and after receiving Botox injections.
After the injections, which deaden the corrugator (frown) muscles, the volunteers took significantly longer to grasp and react to negative concepts such as being ignored on their birthday or being interrupted during dinner by a telesales call.
“Blocking facial expression diminishes the experience of emotion,” said Havas. “Our faces are normally alive with activity, which contributes to our understanding of each other, and there is a strong link between our facial expression and our ability to comprehend the meaning of language.
“If people seem slow in reacting to what they are being told, it is likely to be interpreted as a lack of sympathy or interest.”
Volunteers in the trial responded at normal speed to positive or happy ideas, but Havas believes further research will show that people who have undergone Botox treatment around the mouth or to remove crow’s-feet may struggle to smile and comprehend joy.
The use of Botox, which is derived from botulinum, a nerve toxin, is unregulated in Britain. Thousands of people have become regular users of the injections, which can be obtained online or through doctors, beauticians and even vets.
UPDATE: 19 JULY 2010 TOO YOUNG FOR BOTOX?
Teenage Philippine singing sensation Charice Pempengco has caused an Internet uproar after having cosmetic surgery to improve her looks ahead of her debut on top US television show “Glee”.
The 18-year-old, known simply by her first name, had botox injections and minor surgery in Manila at the weekend to narrow her rounded face, with the procedure filmed and broadcast afterwards on a national television station.
“It’s one of the big preparations we are making for ‘Glee’ and of course I also want to look fresh on cam,” Charice said in a TV interview as she defended her decision to have cosmetic surgery at such a young age.
Fans, however, flooded the star’s official website, charicemania.com, as the issue became a hot Internet topic, with many lamenting the fact that she felt pressure to alter her face.
“At a very early age, she was made to feel inadequate and was told time and time again that, although she had a killer voice, she did not possess the looks to make it as a ‘star’,” a fan using the name Marie wrote on Charice’s website.
“I can’t even begin to imagine what that did to this child’s self-esteem.”
On another fan site, charicemusic.com, there was more concern for Charice.
“I hope she doesn’t change or undergo any more treatment and change herself... she’s just fine as it is... listen to yourself and not be affected by other opinions,” wrote a user calling themselves Mirana on that site.
Charice’s procedure was a top-10 global topic on the social networking site Twitter at one point this week.
Her plastic surgeon, Vicki Belo, said the procedure was meant to sculpt Charice’s naturally rounded face.
Belo said the botulinum toxin injections, which immobilise some muscles, would not have any effect on Charice’s voice.
The diminutive Filipina first gained global renown through video-sharing website YouTube and has since become a favourite of US TV talk show queen Oprah Winfrey.
“Glee” is an hour-long comedy series that follows an optimistic high school teacher as he works with a group of outcasts to revive the fortunes of the school’s performance art club.
Elizabeth Taylor, 78, to Wed for 9th Time -to 49-Year-Old Man!
Elizabeth Taylor may soon be walking down the aisle ... for the ninth time. A source close to the Oscar-winning actress, 78, tells UsMagazine.com exclusively that Taylor recently got engaged to Jason Winters, 49, of Sterling Winters Management. Taylor -- who now predominantly uses a wheelchair -- and Winters -- who recently became Janet Jackson's new manager -- have yet to confirm the news.
Says another insider: "It's no secret that they've been together forever and are in love, so it wouldn't be a surprise if they were engaged. Right now they are keeping it between them." In 2007, British papers reported that Taylor and Winters took a romantic vacation together at a Hawaiian resort. Taylor spent "the evening caressing the face of [Winters]," reported the Evening Standard. At the time, the paper quoted a source as saying: "She didn't think she'd fall in love again, but since Jason came into her life that has all changed."
The screen legend has also gushed about Winters to gossip columnist Liz Smith, describing him as "one of the most wonderful men I've ever known, that's why I love him." He even reportedly bought a house for them. The screen legend has been married eight times -- twice to love Richard Burton. Her last union, to construction worker Larry Fortensky, ended after five years in 1996.
A 13-year-old California boy plans to try to climb Mount Everest in a quest to reach the summits of the highest peaks on all seven continents.
If Jordan Romero succeeds, he’ll become the youngest person to conquer the world’s highest mountain.
Jordan will attempt the ascent to 29,035 feet (8,850 meters) with his father and his father’s girlfriend, both experienced outdoors people who have helped train the teenager for top-level mountaineering.
When Jordan was only 9, a school mural of the seven summits inspired his ambitious goal.
“I told my dad about it and he didn’t say no. He just explained the difficulties and what I’d have to do. We started training right away,” said Jordan, who was scheduled to depart for Nepal on Monday night.
At age 10, he became the youngest American to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak. He’s steadily checked off four of the tallest peaks since then, including Alaska’s Mount McKinley, which many climbers consider to be a more technical climb than Everest.
Despite his penchant for tall mountains and thin air, friends and family describe Jordan as unusually grounded for a 13-year-old. He said he understands the risks of climbing Everest, which kills climbers almost every year.
“Mountain climbing requires a lot of mental training and making smart decisions. It’s a metaphor for life,” he said, sounding wiser than his years.
The teenager’s planned Everest ascent is making the mountaineering community think hard about how young is too young to climb such a dangerous mountain.
Jordan’s father, Paul Romero, said he wants nothing more than to make his son’s dreams come true.
“It’s his quest and we’re just along for the ride,” said Romero, a helicopter paramedic who lives in the San Bernardino Mountains ski town of Big Bear Lake. “We may or may not reach the summit this time. It might be a dress rehearsal.”
Romero and girlfriend, Karen Lundgren, are adventure racers, competing in weeklong endurance races that combine biking, climbing, paddling and climbing through wilderness areas around the world.
Jordan’s mother, Leigh Anne Drake, said she supports her son but she also sees her ex-husband’s influence in the project.
“He went to his dad’s for a weekend and came back with a new goal,” to be the youngest to reach the top of Everest, she said. “If you’re going to do it, you have to foot the bill. But if you set a record, you can get sponsorship.”
The trio’s Everest expedition is costing $150,000. Jordan, his father and Lundgren will be making the ascent with three sherpas.
Temperatures at the summit can plunge to 100 degrees below zero and hurricane-force winds blow much of the year. Atmospheric pressure at the peak is about a third that of sea-level, which can lead to breathing difficulties, mental sluggishness and other serious medical problems. Climbers usually use bottled oxygen.
The extreme cold, lack of oxygen, falls, exhaustion and avalanches have killed hundreds of climbers. Many of their bodies remain beside the trail.
Guides who have experience with Everest say Jordan will probably be safe, as long as he and his team pay close attention to how their bodies are reacting to the high altitude and low oxygen conditions near the peak.
“After doing five of those peaks — I’ve done them, it’s hard — that means he’s a tough kid,” said Jason Edwards, a guide with the Seattle-based International Mountain Guides. The outfitter has a minimum age limit of 18 for Everest expeditions because of liability issues.
But Gordon Janow, a guide with Alpine Ascents International, also based in Seattle, said there’s not a lot of research on the short- and long-term effects of high altitude on children, whose brains and bodies are still developing.
“We’re in a day and age where parents are pushing kids to extremes so much. It’s very hard to disentangle the parent from the kid these days,” he said. “But with mountaineering, the kid can’t just go through the motions. They have to do a lot of physical training and really want it.”
Janow has turned down 14-year-olds who wanted to climb Kilimanjaro without their parents.
“Jordan’s probably a better bet than some 68-year-old guy who’s only done two mountains,” he said. “These days it’s moving so fast, it’s a 10-year-old sailing around the world this year and an 8-year-old the next. What’s reasonable anymore?”
During the frenzy of packing, Jordan’s mother said she is bracing herself for two long months when the only news of her son will come from a blinking dot that represents his GPS device on a topographical map of Everest.
“I’m on a roller coaster,” Drake said as her voice cracked with emotion. “From the second he leaves my arms until he’s back, it’s like I can’t breathe and I can’t cry. But at the same time, I’m so overjoyed that’s he’s getting the chance to do and see all of these amazing things.”
She said her son is taking two months of homework to Nepal so he can keep up with school.
The current record holder for the youngest to climb the peak is Temba Tsheri of Nepal who was 16 and lost five fingers during his ascent due to frostbite.
Chinese doctors claim to have discovered the biggest case of man boobs in the world after a 53-year-old dairy farmer turned up at a specialist chest clinic in Beijing.
Doctor Zhang Lilan at the Jinan Chest Hospital said: "The man is in every way male except for his enormous breasts. He is a farmer and says they are extremely uncomfortable as he has to do a lot of manual work and they get in the way of everything.
"He said it has also attracted a lot of attention in the village where he comes from with people turning up to point and laugh at him, so much so that he now has to wear a heavy coat to cover up his figure even in the hottest weather."
The man, 53-year-old Guo Feng, said: "About 10 years ago my chest started to get larger but I didn't think much of it as I was putting on weight all over - but in the last few years it's become unbearable and I have been from one hospital to the other with nobody able to help me.
"I have spent all my money on examinations and tests and am still no nearer a solution - in fact my breasts are now bigger than ever.
"I sometimes think the doctors don't want to help me with this because they find me a medical curiosity."
He says if no one can help him he will cut them off himself and has appealed for doctors to do something before that. But the doctors say they do not want to act until they have identified what the problem is.
Doctor Zhang Lilan added: "In 30 years of working as specialist here at the chest clinic I have never seen anything like it."
Clinic boss Gaoyong Hong added: "We wondered if he had eaten any poisons or contaminants but have found nothing after testing his blood. His genetic material is also normal. We did an Xray. It is not a cancer. It seems to be fatty tissue - at the most the best we can suggest is that it is the biggest case of man boobs ever."