These little people are of great interest to scientists, because though they have diets high in fat or tip the scales at morbidly obese, they are free, don’t get diabetes or Alzheimer’s, and are more often than not in perfect .

 

in an exclusive report about this cutting-edge research. He said that in three decades, only one of his patients has died of cancer, “and that is fascinating.”

 

It also makes people like Merci Valarezo proud to suffer from a disease that once gave her great shame. She is 50-years-old, stands three-and-a-half feet tall, and is considered morbidly obese at 127 pounds.

 

But the contrast of her poor diet — lots of carbs and fats — and her excellent health have scientists very interested in the condition and how its unique features can be harnessed as a treatment for cancer and a host of other debilitating diseases. Researchers also hope to find a cure for those suffering from Laron Syndrome.

 

Thousands of years ago, one single ancestor passed down a mutated gene that prevented his descendants from growing more than four feet tall. Now called Laron Syndrome, only 350 people in the world are known to have it, and a third of them live in an isolated village in southern .