The mysterious case of Brooke Greenberg took center stage this week after after she appeared on the Katie show.
At 20 years old Brooke has the appearance of a toddler, a condition that has come about that doctor’s have yet to completely understand.
So debilitating is her condition that the 20 year old is estimated to have a mental age of nine months to one year. To boot Brooke is unable to talk, still has her baby teeth and is forced to travel in a push chair.
Explained Brooke’s father, Howard Greenberg:“From age one to four, Brooke changed. She got a little bit bigger. But age four, four to five, she stopped.’
To date the girl’s condition is still little understood as she has been examined by some of the most prestigious medical institutions in the U.S., however no formal diagnosis for Brooke’s condition has been given, leading doctors to term her condition Syndrome X.
Dr Eric Schadt, director of the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, explained that she has ‘no apparent abnormalities in her endocrine system, no gross chromosomal abnormalities, or any of the other disruptions known to occur in humans that can cause developmental issues.’
Brooke who requires 24/7 attention necessitates being fed through a tube inserted into her stomach as her oesophagus is too small to allow her to swallow food and risks food being backed up her lungs.
Reflected Brooke’s mother, Melanie Greenberg: ‘It’s been 16 years of on the job training, giving her medicine, knowing when she’s sick, knowing the right amount.’
Added Mr Greenberg: ‘The key with Brooke is we don’t know what tomorrow brings.’
The UK’s dailymail goes on to note that scientists believe her unique genetic code could provide a fresh insight into the process of aging, leading to the development of new treatments for diseases related to old age, such as Parkinson’s.
Tests have shown that Brooke, who was born in 1993, may suffer from a gene mutation that switches off her ability to mature.
At present Dr Schadt is in the process of sequencing Brooke’s genome, which is comprised of two long strings of letters, one from her mother and the other from her father.
Each string is three billion letters long, and changes in just one of these letters can lead to profound effects on development, physical appearance, and risk of disease.
Reflected Dr Eric Schadt: “We hope to find out whether any abnormal genes identified in Brooke ‘are involved in aging related processes, whether manipulating these genes could increase longevity and/or reduce aging related disorders such as Alzheimer’s, heart disease and many forms of cancer.”
Mrs Greenberg went on to say that she loves Brooke just the way she is.