Children Who Never Age/Grow up

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Anonymous

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Child who stopped growing at 6 months?

Following a thread I read on snopes.com, in which noone could find any information, I was intrigued enough to see if anyone here knows anything about this fairly fortean occurrence...

Apparently a girl lived to the age of 7, but stopped developing completely at the age of 6 months, and remained (both physically and mentally) identical to a 6 month old baby until she died (no idea what she died of). The poster on Snopes who started the thread said she had read an article in (?)Scientific American saying the child had a condition which was "the opposite of progeria" (the disease which makes children age rapidly so they appear like miniature old men).

This would have been in America and fairly recently (maybe 10 years ago or so). Also there may have been a legal investigation into the case.

Ring any bells with anyone?
 

rynner2

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Brooke looks like any other baby girl. But in fact, she's 12 years old
By Charles Laurence in New York
(Filed: 22/05/2005)

Brooke Greenberg has celebrated 12 birthdays according to the calendar and her family photo albums. In terms of growing up, however, she has yet to reach her first.

To the mystification of the medical world, Brooke is frozen in time, a real-life, female Peter Pan. She weighs 13lb and measures 27 inches, and looks and acts as if she were a six-month-old baby, not a girl about to become a teenager.

Brooke lives with her parents Howard and Melanie Greenberg and her three sisters in Reisterstown, a Baltimore suburb, and doctors credit her survival to their love and support.

"She hasn't changed in 12 years," Mr Greenberg, 48, told The Sunday Telegraph. He does not see his beloved daughter as an object of pity. "Why is it sad?" he asks. "We love her the way she is."

For 12 years the family has changed her nappies, rocked her to sleep and taken turns to give her cuddles. On school days, she is carried gently into a yellow bus and taken to a special school for handicapped children. Her condition has no name and doctors are unaware of any other child in her situation.

Brooke has learned to pull herself up in her cot, crawl across the floor and scoot along in a specially adapted baby-walker. She smiles at people she recognises, but has never been able to say a single word. She does finger paintings when presented with a pot of paint and sheet of paper.

She recognises her family, and giggles when tickled. She has no language skills but has a "sense of self" in that she suffers from healthy sibling rivalry. When her younger sister Carly, now nine, was born, Brooke would cry with jealousy until Mrs Greenberg, 44, picked her up along with the new baby.

That, however, is about as far as she has developed. She simply does not age. "There is no diagnosis. We don't know what is going on," said the family's doctor, Lawrence Pakula, "There is no one else like her in the world."

He describes her as being the equivalent of between six months to 12 months old in terms of height and weight, and says that most doctors who see her compare her to "maybe a handicapped two-year-old".

Brooke was born after a 36-week pregnancy on January 8 1993 in the Sinai Hospital, Baltimore, weighing 4lb 1oz. As an unborn baby, her spasmodic development puzzled doctors. In her first year, she was treated with human growth hormone, but it had no effect.

Until she was five, she suffered a succession of life-threatening health problems, including strokes, seizures, ulcers and breathing difficulties - almost as if she was growing old despite not growing up. Four times, it seemed that she might die. At one point she was diagnosed with a brain tumour the size of a lemon, but it shrank away of its own accord, and Brooke simply woke up.

Brooke now has to be fed through a tube, but her health seems to have stabilised. There is no expectation that she will develop, but, equally, no one can predict how long she can survive.

"People wonder how we have managed to look after her because she has been a baby for such a long time," Mrs Greenberg said. "We just keep going because she is our daughter."
Sunday Tel.
 
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A

Anonymous

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I looked to see if there was already a thread on this phenomenon, but couldn't see one...

Found these links posted on another forum, about a 12 year old girl who has never developed physically beyond being a baby:

Source

thewbalchannel.com/health/44 ... etail.html
Link is dead. See later post for the salvaged text of the MIA webpage.

The links claim that nothing like this has ever been medically reported before, but discussion here suggests that there might have been other cases...

This second link is obsolete. The current link is:
https://wrongplanet.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=3245


Any forteans heard of this?

[Emp edit: Fixing big link.]
 
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rynner2

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I posted that Telegraph story on this page:
[Emp edit: posts merged link removed.]

(but it got no response!)
 
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Anonymous

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I have done extensive searching for more documentation on this case and come up flat.
Seems almost hoaxy.
I remain intruiged.
 

RainyOcean

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I posted that Telegraph story on this page:
[Emp edit: posts merged link removed.]

(but it got no response!)
I was wondering where I read it before.
 

painy2

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Absolutly incredible, never heard of this before.
 

wembley8

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Hoax, which is why it's being pulled from all the news outlets. But we will have to wait for confirmation of exactly who/what/why.
 

hokum6

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Wembley said:
Hoax, which is why it's being pulled from all the news outlets. But we will have to wait for confirmation of exactly who/what/why.
Check the blog links. It had been pulled, then someone contacted the news outlet involved and was told it had 'gone live' again.
 

naSTEe

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i noticed this story and wondered why no one else mentioned it .... as such a thing would surely be mainstream but i was "bothered" by the lack of photos,,in fact i'm "bothered" by the lack of photos on most of our rapidly diminishing "Breaking News", with cameras built into almost anything portable... then who is to say photo evidence means anything anymore,,isn't technology marvel...err frustrating :?:
 

Mythopoeika

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There are photos on that WBAL Channel website.
The girl looks genuinely disabled and looks like a thin baby.
I wonder how long she will live - perhaps she's immortal?
Perhaps scientists could learn a thing or two from studying her.
 

jandzmom

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Hi Folks,
At some family programs for severely disabled children and their parents, I've seen some children (although not quite to this extent) that don't look their age -- one that comes to mind is a child who had something wrong with his 18th chromosome, who looked like a toddler, but was really almost 8 years old. He couldn't walk, talk or eat. His parents adopted him (God bless them) and gave him the best they could while he was here. He passed when he was 13.

JandZmom
 
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Anonymous

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If you check the other message board link in my first post (the word "here"), there are people who claim to have read in books about other similar cases in the past... it seems a pretty fortean subject, so someone here might have heard of other cases...

Of course, photos don't prove anything about the child's real age... but i thought her face looked like it had aged slightly compared to the rest of her body... i would imagine that someone with medical knowledge would be able to tell differences from a normal 6-12 month old...
 

crflori

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not a hoax - video link

Hi, message board newbie here.

This girl has to be one of the most important people alive! Not only does she not age, but I read two reports that said she had a tumor (brain?) the size of a lemon that was diagnosed as terminal - and it simply disappeared.

The implications of her condition blow me away. I think it will be hard to get more stories on her, especially from the angle that she may possibly be 'studied'...

From what I can tell her family is upper middle class, affluent, and does not like a lot of scrutiny or speculation (obviously). Her family and community seem to downplay her condition.

And no it doesn't seem to be a hoax - here is a link to a story and the newscast video...

http://xo.typepad.com/blog/2005/05/update_12yo_gir.html

and the video...

http://mfile.akamai.com/12903/wmv/vod.ibsys.com/2005/0513/4485108.200k.asx

Hope somebody wants to chat about this!
Thanks!
crflori
 
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Anonymous

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I'm still interested in this story but was never able to find out any more information than we already have here.
It seems like it could be an almost reverse progeria.
Also I was just thinking about the diaper bills the family must have paid after 12 years of diapers!
 

RainyOcean

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Maybe they use re-usable ones :cross eye
 
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Anonymous

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Doesn't matter, Id think after 12 years of constant use they would have to replace those a least a few times.
 

jandzmom

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"Will" is a factor for survival

Hi All,
As I've posted before, my son has a rare genetic syndrome, and I'm sure what this little girl has is genetic as well.

What these two children have in common is that they have parents and extended family, therapists and doctors dedicated to loving them and providing them with the therapy and medical assists that keep them alive.

But I really think that the key to their survival is love and in a sense, families willing these children to live and do well.

So many parents feel that they can't change the course of their handicapped kids lives, but they really can make a difference. We were told when our son was born that, if he lived (and that was a big "if"), he would be a vegetable -- that he'd never sit, talk, walk or feed himself. My husband and I were determined that he would do all these things and thrive. I nursed him, we gave him lots of stimulation, early special education and therapies, glasses and hearing aids, and treated him like we did our other son. He was always in the middle of everything. :D

Today our son is almost 12 and does everything they said he wouldn't do and more. My point is that if we hadn't first believed it for him, he wouldn't have gotten to where he is now.

So after this long post, I ask you to consider and comment on how much the human spirit, faith in a higher being, or just plain "will to live" play into the keeping this little girl and others with severe physical conditions alive.
 

Human_84

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My advice: "grow up kid!"

Just kidding guys.... I know there has been children who never got bigger, but i didnt know there were cases of babies who never got bigger. I would of thought that she'd have the intelligence of a 12 year old. Strange to me that she doesn't.
 

RainyOcean

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It might be that a) she's probably not getting the same education as a 12 year old and has probably never gotten the same education as her peers except maybe when she was very young and b) she may be a lot more intelligent than she seems and is just unable to express her intelligence due to her handicap. For instance, young babies can often understand a lot of what their parents and other people are saying, but they cannot communicate the same way because their vocal cords are not developed enough.
 

OldTimeRadio

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An old girlfriend who was raised in a small town in Upper New York State (the Finger Lakes region), tells me that during her childhood there was a woman who regularly pushed her "adult baby" daughter around in a perambulator. She apparenyly did this for a couple of decades.

The neighborhood children were terrified of the baby carriage and its content. They'd see it coming from two blocks away and go and hide until mother and daughter were well past.
 

rynner2

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Girl frozen in time may hold key to ageing
American scientists are keenly studying the DNA of a 17-year-old girl who still has the body and behaviour of a baby
Jonathan Leake

Scientists are hoping to gain new insights into the mysteries of ageing by sequencing the genome of a 17-year-old girl who has the body and behaviour of a tiny toddler.

Brooke Greenberg is old enough to drive a car and next year will be old enough to vote — but at 16lb in weight and just 30in tall, she is still the size of a one-year-old.

Until recently she had been regarded as a medical oddity but a preliminary study of her DNA has suggested her failure to grow could be linked to defects in the genes that make the rest of humanity grow old.

If confirmed, the research could give scientists a fresh understanding of ageing and even suggest new therapies for diseases linked to old age.

“We think that Brooke’s condition presents us with a unique opportunity to understand the process of ageing,” said Richard Walker, a professor at the University of South Florida School of Medicine, who is leading the research team.

“We think that she has a mutation in the genes that control her ageing and development so that she appears to have been frozen in time.

“If we can compare her genome to the normal version then we might be able to find those genes and see exactly what they do and how to control them.”

Such research will be the focus of a conference at the Royal Society in London this week to be attended by some of the world’s leading age researchers.

It follows a series of scientific breakthroughs showing that the life span of many animals can be dramatically extended by making minute changes in single genes.


The work began with tiny worms known as C elegans, which normally live for only about a fortnight. Researchers have been able to extend their life span by up to 10 weeks by making small changes in certain genes.

Scientists have gone on to discover that mutating the same genes in mice had the same effect.

“Mice are genetically very close to humans,” said Cynthia Kenyon, professor of biochemistry at the University of California, San Francisco, who is a key speaker at the Royal Society.

“The implication is that ageing is controlled by a relatively small number of genes and that we might be able to target these with new therapies that would improve the quality and length of human life.”

The laboratory findings have been supported by research into humans, focusing on families whose members are long-lived. In one recent study Eline Slagboom, professor of molecular epidemiology at Leiden University, Holland, collected data on 30,500 people in 500 long-lived families to find the metabolic and genetic factors that make them special.

“Such people simply age slower than the rest of us,” she said. “Their skin is better, they have less risk of diseases of old age like diabetes, heart disease and hypertension and their ability to metabolise lipids and other nutrients is better. The question is: what is controlling all these different manifestations of slow ageing?

“So far, the evidence suggests that there could be just a few key genes in charge of it all. If we can find out where they are and how they work, it opens the way to new therapies against the diseases of ageing that could work in all of us.”

Walker and other researchers, including Kenyon, believe that finding the cause of Brooke Greenberg’s condition could be one way to pinpoint some of those genes.

Superficially, Brooke, who lives with her parents Howard and Melanie Greenberg and her three sisters in Reisterstown, a Baltimore suburb, is frozen in time. She looks and acts as if she were a small toddler — for 17 years her family has changed her nappies, rocked her to sleep and given her cuddles.

Brooke has shown some development, including crawling, smiling and giggling when tickled but she has never learnt to speak and still has her infant teeth.

But she has also suffered a succession of life-threatening health problems, including strokes, seizures, ulcers and breathing difficulties — almost as if she were growing old despite not growing up.

Howard Greenberg, Brooke's father, said he wanted the genome research carried out in the hope it might help others.

He said: "Brooke is just a wonderful child. She is very pure. She still babbles just like a 6 month old baby but she still communicates and we always know just what she means."

Walker and his colleagues, who are working with Brooke’s parents to ensure she benefits from any research findings, have just published a research paper which suggests that in reality some parts of her body have indeed aged — but slowly and all at different rates.

“Our hypothesis is that she is suffering from damage in the gene or genes that co-ordinate the way the body develops and ages,” he said.

“If we can use her DNA to find that mutant gene then we can test it in laboratory animals to see if we can switch if off and slow down the ageing process at will.

“Just possibly it could give us an opportunity to answer the question of why we are mortal.”

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/s ... 120516.ece
 

OldTimeRadio

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Slightly more than 40 years ago I entered into a lengthy and genuinely fascinating conversation with a young man I assumed to be of high school age.

Afterwards I was informed, by his mother, that he was more than dozen years my senior (I was approximately 27 at the time) and "severely retarded."

She thanked me for "spending so much time talking to 'Doc.' Most people are unwilling to spend two hours listening to someone so profoundly retarded."

So where did this leave me?

Or, for that matter, any of the rest of us?
 

beakboo

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I think that says more about his mother than it does about you. :shock:
 

locussolus

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OldTimeRadio said:
Slightly more than 40 years ago I entered into a lengthy and genuinely fascinating conversation with a young man I assumed to be of high school age.

Afterwards I was informed, by his mother, that he was more than dozen years my senior (I was approximately 27 at the time) and "severely retarded."

She thanked me for "spending so much time talking to 'Doc.' Most people are unwilling to spend two hours listening to someone so profoundly retarded."

So where did this leave me?

Or, for that matter, any of the rest of us?
Interesting! It shows how vital nurturing is to an individual..
It's also interesting that you were able to have such a fascinating conversation with him. Perhaps no one ever listened before. Sometimes there is a lot more to a person than we give them credit for. Especially if that person is different development wise. I know a few people I get along well with that have medically diagnosed mental illness or development problems, but they just need a bit more patience and listening in order to communicate.
 

EnolaGaia

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thewbalchannel.com/health/44 ... etail.html
Link is dead. See later post for the salvaged text of the MIA webpage.
Here is the text of the MIA 2005 webpage about Brooke Greenberg.
Young Girl Has Not Aged In Years

POSTED: 6:12 am EDT May 13, 2005
UPDATED: 2:17 pm EDT May 18, 2005

Imagine being frozen in time as a baby forever. It sounds impossible, but it describes Brooke Greenberg.

The Baltimore County girl may look like a baby, but she's nearly a teenager. In most respects, Brooke looks and acts like your average 6-month-old baby -- she weighs 13 pounds and she is 27 inches long.
But Brooke is actually 12 years old.

WBAL-TV 11 News reporter Kate Amara said Brooke doesn't age and she is a medical mystery. Amara said Brooke's syndrome remains undiagnosed and un-named and as far as doctors can tell, she is the only one in the world who has it.

Dr. Laurence Pakula has been Brooke's pediatrician since she was born.

"In height, weight, she's 6-12 months," Pakula said. "If you ask any physician who knows nothing about her, the response is that she is maybe a handicapped 2-year-old."

Amara reported Brooke's body may not be aging, but her health is deteriorating. She is fed through a tube and she's had strokes, seizures, ulcers, severe respiratory problems and a tumor the size of a lemon.

The four times Brooke has come dangerously close to death, she bounced back and no one knows why.
Pakula points out that the girl has a strong sense of self and of sibling rivalry. Brooke has no language skills, but she does have enough motor skills to pull herself up in her crib or scoot across the kitchen floor.
"When one sees how much she has accomplished, it's a wonderful reminder that even for someone who's limited, it's a wonderful world out there," Pakula said.

Amara reported as genetic research expands, scientists might be able to learn the secrets of this amazing little girl. But until then, it is Brooke who is doing the teaching.

Pakula said Brooke has thrived because of the support of her parents and three sisters.
SALVAGED FROM THE WAYBACK MACHINE:
https://web.archive.org/web/20050525120645/http://www.thewbalchannel.com/health/4484968/detail.html
 

EnolaGaia

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Update ...

Brooke Greenberg passed away in 2013 at the age of 20, still appearing to be a 2-year-old.

Maryland 20-Year-Old Dies Never Having Aged

Brooke Greenberg, who baffled scientists because she never aged, has died at the age of 20, never having developed beyond the physical size of an infant or the mental capacity of a 2-year-old.

The daughter of Howard and Melanie Greenberg from Reisterstown, Md., Brooke is one of about a dozen children in the world who have what some call syndrome X -- a kind of Benjamin Button disorder that prevents them from aging.

Her funeral was Sunday at a synagogue outside Baltimore, family friends confirmed. ...

Brooke has been pushed around in a stroller all her life. In 2009, when her family was interviewed on ABC's "20/20," Brook weighed 16 pounds and was 30 inches tall. She didn't speak, but she laughed when she was happy, and clearly recognized her three sisters: Emily, now 26; Caitlin, now 23; and Carly, now 17.

But only her hair and fingernails grew.

In her first six years, Brooke went through a series of medical emergencies from which she recovered, often without explanation. She survived surgery for seven perforated stomach ulcers. She had a brain seizure followed by what was diagnosed as a stroke that, weeks later, had left no apparent damage.

At 4, she fell into a lethargy that caused her to sleep for 14 days. Then, doctors diagnosed a brain tumor, and the Greenbergs bought a casket for Brooke.

"We were preparing for our child to die," Howard Greenberg told ABC in 2009. "We were saying goodbye. And, then, we got a call that there was some change -- that Brooke had opened her eyes and she was fine. There was no tumor. She overcomes every obstacle that is thrown her way."

Richard F. Walker, a retired medical researcher from the University of Florida Medical School who now does his research at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, has followed Brooke's case since she was about 2 years old, comparing her genetic code with that of other children with the same condition.

"In some people, something happens to them and the development process is retarded," he told ABCNews.com earlier this year. "The rate of change in the body slows and is negligible."

Walker wants to learn not only what is wrong with these children but also if others in the family could pass on genes for this rare and baffling disorder.

Their bodies do not develop as a coordinated unit, but as independent parts that are out of sync, according to Walker. No known genetic syndromes or chromosomal abnormalities can explain why.

Brooke still had baby teeth at age 16, and her bone age was estimated to be more like 10.

"There've been very minimal changes in Brooke's brain," he said. "Various parts of her body, rather than all being at the same stage, seem to be disconnected."

Walker also studies Gabby Williams, an 8-year-old from Billings, Mont., who weighs only 11 pounds and a 29-year-old Florida man who has the body of a 10-year-old. Like Brooke, they never seem to age. ...

Not only do the people he's studying have a growth rate of one-fifth the speed of others, but they live with a variety of other medical problems, including deafness, the inability to walk, eat or even speak.

Walker explains that physiological change, or what he calls "developmental inertia," is essential for human growth. Maturation occurs after reproduction.

"Without that process we never develop," he said. "When we develop, all the pieces of our body come together and change and are coordinated. Otherwise, there would be chaos."

But, said Walker, the body does not have a "stop switch" for this development. "What happens is we become mature at age 20 and continue to change."

The first subtle internal body changes of aging are seen in the 30s and become more visible in the 40s.

"There is a progressive erosion of internal order as a result of developmental inertia," he said.

In one of the girls Walker has studied, he found damage to one of the genes that causes developmental inertia, a finding that he called significant. He also suspects the mutations are on the regulatory genes on the second female X chromosome.

"If we could identify the gene and then at young adulthood we could silence the expression of developmental inertia, find an off-switch, when you do that, there is perfect homeostasis and you are biologically immortal."

Now Walker doesn't mean that people will never die. Human life will still end.

"But you wouldn't have the later years -- you'd remain physically and functionally able," he said. ...
SOURCE: https://abcnews.go.com/Health/maryland-20-year-dies-aged/story?id=20712718
 
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