There is no specific lab test, so a diagnosis is based on the physical appearance of the child, usually made during the first or second year of life when skin changes and failure to gain weight become apparent.
A chemical (hyaluronic acid) can be found in much higher levels in the urine of children with Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria syndrome; the same abnormality has been found in Werner syndrome, which is sometimes called "progeria of the adult." Few other diseases are known in which elevated levels of this chemical are found, suggesting that hyaluronic acid may prove to be a useful test for progeria.
Prozac (fluoxetine) An antidepressant medication that is the only newer drug approved to treat depressed children. Studies suggest that younger people respond to Prozac with very small doses, and that a sizable portion of young people who do not respond to other antidepressants do respond to Prozac.
Introduced in 1988, Prozac was the first of a new class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which increase the levels of a neurotransmitter called serotonin. Many people who are depressed have low levels of this chemical and therefore improve when serotonin levels rise.
Like other pharmaceutical interventions for depression, Prozac is usually prescribed as part of a treatment plan that includes psychosocial interventions. Prozac is also approved to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder in children and teens and to treat major depressive disorder in adults, bulimia, and panic disorder. Like all antidepressants, Prozac takes one to three weeks to achieve its full effect.
Results of trials with this medication suggest that Prozac also may be helpful in treating ADHD, although the first-line therapy for ADHD is still Ritalin, Strattera, or Dexedrine (dextro-amphetamine).
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