Doctors Stumped by 16-Year-Old With Toddler's Body, Brain

By Boonsri Dickinson | June 23, 2009 3:46 pm

Brooke Greenberg looks like a toddler—but, astonishingly, she is 16 years old. Doctors and researchers are baffled as to why her body and brain have not grown or aged, while her nails and hair continue to grow. As ABC reports:

Dr. Richard Walker of the University of South Florida College of Medicine, in Tampa, says 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 syndrome or chromosomal abnormality that would help explain why.

In a recent paper for the journal “Mechanisms of Ageing and Development,” Walker and his co-authors, who include Pakula and All Children’s Hospital (St. Petersburg, Fla.) geneticist Maxine Sutcliffe chronicled a baffling range of inconsistencies in Brooke’s aging process. She still has baby teeth at 16, for instance. And her bone age is estimated to be more like 10 years old.

Walker tested Brooke’s DNA, hoping her genes would uncover new information about how and why human beings age.

While no one knows how long Brooke will live, life is as normal as it can be for her—she rides in a stroller, and wears toddler’s clothes. Her family sends her to Ridge Ruxton, a pubic school focused on special education. And when she’s at home, she hangs out in her crib. For pictures of Brooke through the years, click here.

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Image: flickr/ Happiness in a Bite

MORE ABOUT: age, baby, DNA

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