Skin samples of Vietnamese woman with rare condition sent to Havard

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Vietnamese doctors have sent skin samples of a 26-year-old woman who looks 70 to an American hospital to find out the root cause for her strange condition.

Nguyen Thi Phuong from the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre was admitted to Ho Chi Minh City Medicine and Pharmacy University Hospital on October 11.

A group of 10 doctors later held a three-hour consultation on the case but were yet to identify what prompted the rapid-aging process in Phuong.

Dr Dang Van Phuoc, deputy director of the hospital, told the Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper Monday that Phuong's skin samples had been sent to a hospital in Harvard University.

According to the doctors, Phuong may have a rare dermal condition and they are waiting for the results of some tests taken on Phuong before they can reach any conclusion.

Previously, doctors were divided on whether Phuong's aging process was caused by the side effects of too much corticoid used in her medicine or the condition itself was lipodystrophy - a medical condition characterized by abnormal or degenerative conditions of the body's adipose tissue.

Hoang Van Minh, a doctor who directly examined Phuong, told Thanh Nien that Phuong may have mastocytosis - a group of rare disorders among both children and adults caused by the presence of too many mast cells in a person's body.


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The woman, who had grabbed headlines of late because of her strange condition, started aging three years ago after she took some medicine bought at a local pharmacy to cure her allergy to seafood.

Nguyen Van Doan, director of the Hanoi-based Bach Mai Hospital's Allergy and Clinical Immunity Center, told the television channel VTC corticoid may have been a stimulant for a medical condition already developed in Phuong beforehand.

He added it may take time to treat the case and Phuong may not have her young looks back.

"However, Phuong can give birth like normal women because only her face has signs of aging," he said.

The HCMC Medicine and Pharmacy University Hospital is providing free of charge treatment for Phuong.

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