The Teenage Girl Who Did Not Age Since She Was A Toddler
In what could possibly be an insight into the secrets of the ageing process, Brooke Greenberg, a 16-year-old had been a source of bewilderment for scientists because of the fact that she had not aged past being a toddler. And despite the fact that Brooke had been a toddler in terms of her development and size, she was a completely normal girl who was in a good physical health.
Brooke’s survival story was an amazing one because, in the first six years of her life, she faced a lot of medical difficulties coupled with a myriad of conditions that doctors couldn’t diagnose and which left them baffled, however, she was able to survive all the adversity and live a healthy life.
Brooke has three sisters aged 13, 19, and 22 who are all absolutely normal children. Even though she was placed on treatments with human growth hormones, her body did not respond to treatment in any way, like she had some kind of resistance to ageing of any kind.
Weighing just 16 pounds and standing at a height of 2 feet, 6 inches at the time, she was unable to speak, but she could express frustration and happiness. In an attempt to determine why Brooke’s ageing process was so irregular and its impact on how we understand genetic makeup, researchers studied samples of Brooke’s DNA and cells to see if they could find what they considered to be some kind of genetic mutation never observed before in any human being that has an effect on her ageing process.
For doctors, she had not grown mentally or physically, but her mother had experienced glimpses of behavior typical of a teenage girl, stating “She loves to shop…just like a woman.” Whenever they visited the stores, with Brooke in her stroller, a lot of people would stop to find out how old she was. Telling them she was sixteen would have been a huge surprise for them which would have needed a lot of explaining, so, according to her mum, “My system was to turn year into months. So, when someone asked, I might say, she’s 16 months old.”
Brooke’s brain had only undergone minimal changes with different parts of her body being disconnected instead of all of them being at the same point. And this was surprising for someone who had never been diagnosed with abnormal chromosomes or any type of genetic syndrome.
On October 24, 2013, Brooke Greenberg died at the Sinai Medical Center’s Herman and Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital, in Baltimore, the same place she was born. Her family had a funeral service for her on October 27, 2013, and she was buried on the same morning.
The cause of death was diagnosed as bronchomalacia, a medical condition that is common with children, characterized by breathing difficulties as a result of weak cartilage along the walls lining the bronchial tubes.