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 Little Girl Frozen in Time

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Registration date : 2008-04-23

PostSubject: Little Girl Frozen in Time   Sat Aug 08, 2009 11:55 am,2933,538020,00.html??test=faces

The Curious Case of Brooke Greenberg: 16-Year-Old Has the Body and Mind of a Toddler

Friday, August 07, 2009

By Jessica Doyle

Aug. 7: Brooke, 16, her mom, Melanie; dad Howard; and sister Caitlin, 19.

Like most 16-year-olds, Brooke Greenberg enjoys shopping and listening to rock music.

But unlike other girls her age who are learning to drive and going to the
prom, Brooke still wears diapers, travels in a stroller and can’t walk or talk. Like a toddler, Brooke is 2-and-a-half feet tall and weighs only 16 pounds.
the past 10, 11 years, she’s looked the same,” said Brooke’s father,
Howard Greenberg. “The price is, she’s adorable. She stopped aging at
the right age.”
Doctors aren’t sure how or why,
but Brooke, who lives in Baltimore, Md., developed a mutation of the
gene that controls aging and development.
Dr. Richard Walker,
a biomedical researcher and editor-in-chief of Clinical Interventions
in Aging, discovered Brooke’s mutated gene. He has been studying her
case since 2006.
“Brooke is a unique individual
because she has a mutation in the developmental gene that prevents her
from aging, and she’s in the developmental phase,” Walker said.
“There’s no hope for her, but what she brings to science is information
on how we may be able to delay aging.”
one of four children, is definitely a “Daddy’s girl.” Her father spares
no expense for his daughter. Like her sisters, Brooke had a Bat Mitzvah
— the Jewish rite of passage into adulthood — when she turned 13. And
he buys her the best strollers and baby swings.
what she really loves,” said Caitlin Greenberg, 19, pointing to the
swing, as Brooke propelled herself back and forth, a smile forming on
her small face.
Caitlin, a sophomore at
Towson University, and her other sisters, Emily, 22, and Carly, 13, are
of normal size and development. They still interact with their “little”
sister as if “she’s just one of the gals,” Caitlin said.
it’s a difficult life for the Greenbergs. The state of Maryland has
provided two nurses to help care for Brooke 16 hours a day, because she
was getting sick often and needed a feeding tube inserted in her
“From the ages of 1 to 5, she spent 65
percent of her life in the hospital,” her mom, Melanie, said. “It takes
her 10 hours a day just to eat. She’s medically fragile.”
to Walker, development and aging are at opposite poles of the life
continuum, but they are controlled by the same genes. In young
childhood, these genes initiate structure and function and coordinate
change (single cells eventually become full-functioning adults).
“Once we’re adults, we don’t want to change,” Walker said. “We all want our bodies
to be about 21. But those genes don’t turn off at that time. It causes
the bodies’ stability to erode, and that’s what aging is. The
punchline: if you can get those genes and turn them off, then you
wouldn’t have aging.”
Essentially, Brooke’s aging and development genes have been turned off.
Her bones are that of a 10-year-old, her teeth are 6-years-old, her brain is less than a year old, Walker said.
Yet, her hair and nails, protein synthesis, grow normally.
still searching for the mutation,” Walker said. “Once we find it, we
are going to try to manipulate it in experimental animals to see if we
can extend their lifespan.”
In the meantime,
the Greenberg family takes each day with Brooke as it comes. They don’t
dwell on the negative; instead, they consider Brooke’s life a gift.
“Maybe she holds the keys to medical history,” Caitlin said.
To learn more about Brooke’s story, watch Child Frozen in Time Sunday at 9 p.m. on TLC.

"Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders & says...'Oh shit....she's awake!!"
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