Werner syndrome (VER-ner SIN-drome)
An inherited disorder marked by rapid aging that begins in early adolescence. Patients may be shorter than average, and have health problems such as loss and graying of hair, hardening of the arteries, thinning of the bones, diabetes, and thin, hardened skin. They also have an increased risk of cancer, especially osteosarcoma (a type of bone cancer). Werner syndrome is caused by a mutation (change) in a gene involved in cell division. It is a type of autosomal recessive gene disease. Also called adult progeria and WS.