Doctors in Vietnam are puzzled over the strange condition of a 27-year-old woman who looks much older than her age.
Nguyen Thi Ngoc Mai of Hoi An Town in the central province of Quang Nam was admitted to the Hoan My Hospital in Da Nang City on October 22.
Doctors from various hospitals in the central region held a three-hour consultation, but could not reach a conclusion on what caused the rapid aging process in her.
Mai started aging when she turned 12. According to Nguyen Thi Mut, her 52-year-old mother, Mai first felt itchy and developed rashes all over her body.
Her face swelled up, which made her classmates avoid her, Mut recalled.
Her family brought her to many hospitals, and tried many modern and traditional medicines, but her condition only got worse.
Mai is one of the three children in her family; the two others are normal.
She got married at the age of 22, to a man with slight mental problems. They have two children aged two and five; both are in good health.
Mai said her aging process seemed to get faster when she got older.
"Over the last two years, I have not dared look into the mirror," she said.
When Mai sits next to her 52-year-old mother, it is difficult to say who is the daughter.
After her story was published in the Thanh Nien newspaper on October 19, the Hoan My Hospital in Da Nang offered free treatment for her and invited doctors from other hospitals to diagnose her condition.
Most doctors feel Mai may have a dermal condition or a disease caused by an overdose of anti-allergy medicine.
She is not the only aging case recently reported in Vietnam.
Nguyen Thi Phuong, a 26-year-old woman from the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre, also attracted public attention for her 70-something looks.
Phuong started aging three years ago after she took some medicine bought at a local pharmacy to cure her allergy to seafood.
Her condition also left Vietnamese doctors baffled and her skin samples have been sent to the US in the hope that doctors there could find the root cause for her aging.