I was informed today of a most interesting case. There was a well known actor who was on the show The Golden Girls back in the 1980s, named Brent Collins, who apparently had the medical conditions of dwarfism and marfan’s syndrome.
The general claim made by the sources I find on google is that this guy had a growth spurt as an adult, maybe around the age of 30 or higher. This is most unusual. The only case which most people had found similar is Adam Rainer. He died in 1988 from a heart attack, which is believed to have been induced by the growth spurt.
Some people on the TheTallestMan.com forums say that he started growing at the age of 46, which was just a year before he died.
There are maybe just a few videos on Youtube of him acting, and if you look at his body, his arm limbs are abnormally long. Since we can’t really get a good look at his legs, I will just assume his legs are also disproportionately long compared to his body.
Here are some things that have been guessed by others who tried to analyze his unique case.
Roger – I guess his dwarfism might be caused by an osteodysplasia, due to a genetic mutation, (not sure what kind of dwarfism, maybe SED dwarfism) rather than an endocrine origin, and although radiographic evidences show that development in epiphyseal regions in subjects with SED dwarfism is markedly delayed, when reached the early adulthood the plates shoud be closed, so I do find extraordinary that the epiphyseal plates of Mr.Collins were potentially functional at age 46, unless the ossification centers remained open due to some circumstance. Looks like, as long as he was working, he didn’t show any sign of MFS, as we can see on the 1987 Another World video, so I am surprised that marfan developed so spontaneously, and killed him so fast. (source)
GodsGadfly – I just saw his appearance on _The Golden Girls_–and apparently garnered a few search hits from it. If you know what you’re looking at, you can tell that his arms and fingers were very Marfanoid in proportion to his body, and relative to the normal proportions of a dwarf. I had gotten to wonder if he had Weill-Marchesani Syndrome, but that is not associated with aortic dilation. (source)
It seems that we might be incorrect in assuming that he died at the age of 48, but instead 46.
Can we extrapolate this very unique medical case of this rather good actor to something we can take away?
Brent Collins was said to have started growing around late 1987 and that triggered the heart problem, which is a Marfan’s symptom, to have a problem, causing his death.
It doesn’t make any sense at this point how this man, who would have been in his mid 40s could have still had functional growth plates. I once theorized in an old post that maybe it is possible that a very small minority of females still have functional growth plates even into their 30s, but this case is much more extreme.
Human bones are very hard material that is not malleable using normal magnitudes of force. Maybe, just maybe, because Collins was a dwarf, probably weighing just around 60-80 lbs, the cartilage in his body did not ever experience the amount of gravitational loading needed to ossify the epiphyseal cartilage.
Of course, now I am just completely guessing.