Brooke Greenberg was born 16 years ago. Yet, she looks like a toddler. Her bones appear to have aged ten years, and she still has her baby teeth. She communicates through toddler noises, and shows no sign of having brain development beyond age 2. Despite various tests she’s never been found to have any chromosomal or genetic disorders. She weighs 16 pounds, and is 2 and a half feet tall. Doctors tried to give her growth hormones early in her life, but they didn’t seem to have any affect on her. Below you can see a picture of her at age 3 and then a picture of her age at 16.
This is interesting for a few reasons.
1) The family looks for teenage qualities in Brooke. Despite no evidence that she’s had any significant physical or psychological progress since she was a toddler, her sister said:
“She looks like a 6-month-old, but she kind of has a personality of a 16-year-old,” Caitlin said. “Sometimes we joke about how she rebels.”
It would be interesting to learn if this is simply wishful thinking, a joke, or if there are parts of a personality that go beyond age.
2) No one knows how long she will live. If everything is aging slower then it seems possible that Brooke could live longer than normal. However, even if she lives far shorter than anyone else, it will still be remarkable. Will we see a twenty-year old infant? A thirty-year old toddler?
3) Will she reveal the age gene?
The fact that Brooke seems to be healthy (except for the age thing), makes it seem like maybe there is some “switch” in her genetic code that is almost always turned on in most people, which is turned off in her case. Scientists put forward the fascinating possibility that analyzing her genetic code could reveal the answer to the question “Why do we age?”.
TLC is broadcasting a documentary about Brooke Greenberg on August 3rd, until then here’s a clip from 2005 about then 12-year old Brooke.