12-Year-Old Maryland Girl Has Not Aged In Years
Syndrome Remains Undiagnosed
UPDATED: 11:15 am EDT May 13, 2005
BALTIMORE -- Imagine being frozen in time as a baby forever. It sounds impossible, but it describes Brooke Greenberg.
The Baltimore-area 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, reported WBAL-TV in Baltimore.
Brooke doesn't age. Her syndrome remains undiagnosed and unnamed, 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 to 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."
Doctors say Brooke has thrived because of the support of her parents and three sisters.
Her body may not be aging, but Brooke's 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.
Pakula said Brooke has thrived because of the support of her parents and three sisters.
"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.
As genetic research expands, scientists might be able to learn the secrets of this little girl. But until then, it is Brooke who is doing the teaching.