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May 17, 2010 / Featured articles / 8 comments

Brooke Greenberg (born January 8, 1993), is a 17 year old girl from Reisterstown, Maryland, who has remained physically and cognitively similar to a toddler, despite her increasing age. She is about 30 inches (76 cm) tall, weighs about 16 pounds (7.3 kg), and has an estimated mental age of 9 months to 1 year. Brooke’s doctors have termed her condition Syndrome X.
Brooke was born on January 8, 1993 at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, one month prior to her due date, weighing just four pounds (1.8 kg). She was born with anterior hip dislocation, a condition which caused her legs to be swiveled upwards, awkwardly, toward her shoulders; this was corrected surgically. Otherwise, Brooke appeared to be a normal infant.
In her first six years, Brooke Greenberg went through a series of unexplained medical emergencies from which she recovered. She had seven perforated stomach ulcers. She also suffered a seizure. This was followed by what was later diagnosed as a stroke; weeks later, no damage was detected. At age five, Brooke had a mass in her brain that caused her to sleep for 14 days. The doctors diagnosed the mass as a brain tumor. However, Brooke later awoke, and physicians found no tumor present. Brooke’s pediatrician, Dr. Lawrence Pakula, states that the source of her sudden illness remains a mystery.
Over the past several years, the Greenbergs visited many specialists, looking for an explanation for their daughter’s strange condition, and found she has a mutation in Chromosome 1. In 2001, when Dateline documented Brooke, she was still the size of a six-month-old infant, weighing just 13 lb (5.9 kg) at 27 inches (69 cm) tall. The family still had no explanation. Brooke Greenberg’s mother Melanie said: “They [the specialists] just said she’ll catch up. Then we went to the nutritionist, the endocrinologist. We tried the growth hormone…”. The growth hormone treatment had no effect. Howard, Brooke’s father, said: “I mean she did not put on an ounce or she did not grow an inch … That’s when I knew there was a problem.” After the growth hormone administration failed, the doctors, unable to diagnose a known condition, named her condition Syndrome X.
The Greenbergs made many visits to nearby Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, and even took Brooke to New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, searching for information about their daughter’s condition. When geneticists sequenced Greenberg’s DNA, they found that the genes associated with the premature aging diseases were normal, unlike the mutated versions in patients with Werner syndrome and progeria.
In 2006, Dr. Richard Walker of the University of South Florida College of Medicine, said that Brooke’s body is not developing as a coordinated unit, but as independent parts that are out of sync. She has never been diagnosed with any known genetic disorder or chromosomal abnormality that would help explain why.
In 2009, Walker said: “There’ve been very minimal changes in Brooke’s brain … Various parts of her body, rather than all being at the same stage, seem to be disconnected.” Walker noted that Greenberg’s brain, for example, is not much more mature than that of a newborn infant. He estimates her mental age at around 9 months to a year old. Brooke can make gestures and recognize sounds, but cannot speak. Her bones are like those of a ten-year-old, and she still has her baby teeth, which have an estimated developmental age of about 8 years. Said Walker, “We think that Brooke’s condition presents us with a unique opportunity to understand the process of aging.”
Her telomeres seem to be shortening at the normal rate.
source

1 year old

non ageing girl04 Ageless Girl   Syndrome X
3 year old

non ageing girl02 Ageless Girl   Syndrome X

non ageing girl03 Ageless Girl   Syndrome X
7 year old

non ageing girl06 Ageless Girl   Syndrome X

8 year old

non ageing girl07 Ageless Girl   Syndrome X
12 year old

non ageing girl01 Ageless Girl   Syndrome X

non ageing girl08 Ageless Girl   Syndrome X
13 year old

non ageing girl05 Ageless Girl   Syndrome X
16 year old

non ageing girl09 Ageless Girl   Syndrome X

non ageing girl10 Ageless Girl   Syndrome X


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  • Random_comet

    I have read about this girl’s condition before, it is really facinting yet tragic. The above article is somewhat contradictory though. The awrite mentions that “Over the past several years, the Greenbergs visited many specialists, looking for an explanation for their daughter’s strange condition, and found she has a mutation in Chromosome”. But in a later paragraph Dr. Richard Walker is quoted “She has never been diagnosed with any known genetic disorder or chromosomal abnormality that would help explain why.” This is quite misleading, because the article treats her dissease as a total mystery, instead of explaining which genes on chromosome 1 are mutated.

  • badons20

    now there is a real ESTHER from the movie ORPHANT

  • Yenny Veronica

    Ageless Girl Syndrome X

  • Sagster

    man, i feel sorry for her, this story really brings a tear to the eye…but to be honest her sisters are sooo fit

  • Jalanadana

    That thing about the telomeres is really interesting
    Although she’s going to look like a 1 year old for the rest of her life, she still has the lifespan of an ordinary human.

    So unless she dies of disease or something, she’s going to die of old age looking like a baby.

  • nej

    i just love how the family takes care of brooke, her siblings seemed to be very supportive with their parents on how they have to give brooke much of attention and caring…that ‘s all that matters most in situation like that…she definitely needs her family…and to her parents kudos to your acceptance and strong faith in god…god bless you family

  • ZeroDrop

    One year more and she can have a driving license!
    The family must care about pedophiles, because in a year from now, she wouldn’t be underage any more!
    So sad she can’t have a normal life. Isn’t a girl that grows slowly, it’s a girl that not grows at all! Maybe she reach 50 years age still looking like a baby, and needing care from the family.

  • Test Case