Matthew and Michael Clark Are Aging Backwards
2012-11-27 0:00

By Piper Weiss | HealthyLiving

By the looks of their home, Tony and Christine Clark are raising two rambunctious 7-year-old boys. Model train tracks and Monopoly pieces are scattered on tables and cartoons flicker on the TV set.

But the Clarks’ two sons are grown men who share only the same interests and emotional fluctuations of little boys. Like the character portrayed by Brad Pitt in the 2008 film "The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons," Matthew, 39, and Michael, 42, are aging backwards.


Diagnosed with a terminal form of leukodystrophy, one of a group of extremely rare genetic disorders that attack the Myelin, or white matter, in the nervous system, spinal cord, and brain. In the Clarks’ case, the condition has not only eroded their physical capacities, but their emotional and mental states as well.
Only six years ago, both brothers were holding down jobs and growing their families. Today, they spend their days in the care of their parents, both in their sixties, playing with Mr. Potato Head, fighting over Monopoly, and in rare lucid moments, struggling to understand why their lives have changed so dramatically.

Before the Clark Brothers were diagnosed, they were living independent lives. Michael served in the Royal Air Force and later became a cabinet maker. Matthew worked in a factory and was raising a teenage daughter. Tony and Christine, meanwhile, had retired and moved from the UK to Spain. Then in 2007, both of their sons fell off the radar. They stopped returning their parents’ calls and texts, and as the Clark brothers’ conditions developed, their lives fell apart.

Michael surfaced in a soup kitchen, and was referred to medical experts by social workers. After an MRI scan, he was diagnosed with the incurable degenerative disorder. Soon after Matthew received the same news. In the U.S. alone, about 1 in 40,000 children are born with a form of the neurodegenerative disease, according to Dr. William Kintner, President of the United Leukodystrophy Foundation. While some forms of the disorder are potentially treatable if discovered in the earliest stages and not all cause an emotional regression, the brothers are unlikely to be cured. "It’s very difficult to do anything once progression has occurred," Dr. Kintner tells Yahoo! Shine.

[...]


Read the full article at: yahoo.com

A preview for the British documentary on the Clark Brothers airing on the UK’s Channel 4.







Related Articles


Latest News from our Front Page

Wrongfully treating academic debate as anti-Semitism
2015-05-29 19:23
The principle of academic freedom at our universities is under attack by those seeking to shield Israel from criticism by silencing dissent, shutting down discussion and imposing a stifling atmosphere of intimidation at the University of California, in particular. A coordinated set of petitions, including a letter signed by 57 rabbis, asks UC administrators to adopt the State Department's definition of ...
White prof. publishes 'Ten Cracka Commandments' for whites
2015-05-29 19:45
A hip hop symposium recently inspired a professor at Lehigh University to develop a list of "Cracka Commandments" intended to help white people accommodate the imminent "black spring." Christopher Driscoll, a visiting assistant professor of religious studies at the private university in Bethlehem, Penn., posted the list of commandments last Friday following a lecture on the white appropriation of rap. According to ...
Maine Senate Votes to Eliminate Concealed Handgun Permits
2015-05-29 17:57
State may become sixth in nation to not require permits for concealed handguns Senate lawmakers in the northeastern state of Maine have approved a bill that would eliminate the need for concealed carry handgun permits, instituting a concept popularly known as "constitutional carry." In a 21-14 vote Thursday, the republican-controlled Senate approved L.D. 652, "An Act To Authorize the Carrying of Concealed ...
Anglo-Saxon Sword and Helmet from Staffordshire Hoard Reconstructed
2015-05-29 0:49
Thousands of metal fragments from the Staffordshire Hoard have been reconstructed into two "significant" new 7th Century objects. Researchers have pieced together parts of a silver helmet and a previously unseen form of sword pommel. The hoard, which is valued at £3.2m, was found in a field near Burntwood, Staffordshire in July 2009. Both items have been put on display at Birmingham's Museum ...
ALEC corruption: Legislators and corporate lobbyists meet in secret at Savannah resort
2015-05-28 23:59
The Georgia Legislature has a message for voters: don't ask us about our meetings with corporate lobbyists behind closed doors. The 11Alive Investigators tracked lawmakers to a resort hotel in Savannah last week, where we observed state legislators and lobbyists mingling in the hotel bar the night before they gathered in private rooms to decide what new laws would best serve ...
More News »