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> 12-Year-Old Girl Has Not Aged In Years, A child frozen in time

Master Of His Domain
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Posts: 12736
Member No.: 8

Posted: May 18 2005, 01:31 AM
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12-Year-Old Maryland Girl Has Not Aged In Years
05-13-05 16:03

(Editor's note: Original story is no longer available ...
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."

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.

"Ye shall know them by their fruits"
~ Matthew 7:16

"Believe nothing. No matter where you read it, or who said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."
~ Buddha
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Master Of His Domain
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Posts: 12736
Member No.: 8

Posted: May 22 2005, 07:06 AM
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12-Yr-Old Girl Frozen In Time
By Charles Laurence in New York
The Telegraph - UK
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."
© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2005.

"Ye shall know them by their fruits"
~ Matthew 7:16

"Believe nothing. No matter where you read it, or who said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."
~ Buddha
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Master Of His Domain
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Member No.: 8

Posted: Oct 27 2005, 11:52 AM
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A child frozen in time
by Sara James
NBC News
Updated: 7:39 p.m. ET Oct. 23, 2005
Unexplained and unusual, 12-year-old Brooke Greenberg still looks like an infant
user posted image

BALTIMORE, MD. - Watching your children grow up is one of the pleasures of being a parent— and for Howard and Melanie Greenberg, who live in suburban Baltimore with their four daughters, the milestones and memories are countless.

Brooke is the third of the Greenberg’s children.

"She giggles, she laughs, she recognizes her mother and her father, and she loves to be tickled. She loves her sisters," says Melanie.

It all sounds rather ordinary, but for Brooke, things were never quite typical— even from the beginning when Melanie was pregnant with her.

"They checked for growth size every month. One month she would be fine, one month she would just stop and play catch up," recalls Melanie.

"Brooke was a little on the small side, but nothing abnormal," says dad Howard. "I mean you couldn’t really tell until you witnessed the birth and you saw Brooke."

A premature baby
Melanie and Howard first saw Brooke sooner than expected. She arrived one month early and weighed only 4 lbs. She was born with a problem with her hips— a rare condition called anterior hip dislocation.

"Her hips were dislocated from where they normally would be," says Dr. Lawrence Pakula, Brooke's pediatrician. "Hers were pushing forward and put her legs in a very awkward position."

Very early in her life, Brooke had to have surgery, be put in casts and lie on her back with her feet up in the air. "The hope is that this would give her much better function," says Pakula.

At this point, Howard and Melanie still thought they were going to have a normal child.

However, when Brooke was about a year old, Howard and Melanie grew more concerned. Now the worry was not Brooke’s hips, but why Brooke remained about the size of a 6-month-old. While their other daughters were growing, maturing, Brooke seemed to be frozen in time.

"She really was not growing to the rate that she should have been growing," says Howard. "I remember the doctor saying that when Brooke enters say 4th grade she’ll be like at the first grade level. We could live with that, we had no problem with that. We really did not know the road we were about to take with Brooke."

In search of answers
It was a road, that over the next few years, took the Greebergs to specialist after specialist in search of answers... in search of anything.

"They [the specialists] just said she’ll catch up. Then we went to the nutritionist, the endocrinlogoist. We tried the growth hormone," says Melanie.

There was absolutely zero change. "I mean she did not put on an ounce or she did not grow an inch," says Howard. "That’s when I knew there was a problem."

When you look at photographs of Brooke, she appears virtually unchanged. Even her mother has trouble sometimes recognizing how old Brooke is in snapshots.

About four years ago, when "Dateline" first met Brooke, she was still the size of a six month old, weighing just 13 lbs. , 27 inches long. And remarkably, Tiny Brooke was 8 years old. The family still had no explanation.

"We started hearing the word maybe she has 'Syndrome X' which is an unknown syndrome," says Melanie. "That was the first time after the growth hormone didn’t work that the doctor brought that up into our minds and it seemed like the thing to label Brooke— unknown 'Syndrome X.'"

The Greenbergs made many vistis to nearby Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, and even took Brooke to New York’s Mount Sinai hospital, looking for clues to their daughter’s condition.

"Even the geneticists were perplexed," recalls Pakula. "They could not find any abnormalities in her chromosomes." The Greenberg’s pediatrician consulted with specialists, looked for references in medical literature, but came up with nothing.

"No one had ever seen anyone quite like Brooke," she concluded.

Complicated medical conditions
And it wasn’t just Brooke’s inablity to grow. She also began developing serious medical conditions. During the first few years of her life, she was able to eat. She later developed stomach problems and had to be fed through a feeding pump. She also had respiratory problems, was frequently hospitalized, and even suffered a stroke.

"There was a point there where they prepared us for her to die and that’s happened actually several times," says Howard.

"When you have to go to the funeral home and pick out a casket, or go to the store and pick out the last outfit… it’s like a rollercoaster ride, mentally and physically," says Melanie.

Somehow, Brooke pulled through everytime.

Today, Brooke remains exactly the same size, despite the fact that she’s now 12 ½ years old. Her health remains precarious. She spent much of this past winter sick with respiratory problems and recently was hospitalized. The Greenbergs now have a nurse help them care for Brooke.

Still, they try to keep life as normal as possible.

Brooke attends a school for special needs children, even though her mental ability is that of a six month old.

Brooke can’t walk or speak, but manages to get around by crawling. She even lets her thoughts be known.

"She’s very aware," says Melanie. "She’s just another one of the girls in the family here. Packaged a little differently, but she’s Brooke. She’s her own little person."

She also knows when she’s not the center of attention. Three years after Brooke was born, the Greenbergs decided to have another baby. Melanie was monitored carefully and after an uneventful pregnancy, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl. Everyone was happy— except Brooke.

"She was jealous just like a normal child," says Howard. "She would get fussy, start to cry a little bit, want to be held, that type of thing."

A little older sister
The youngest of the Greenberg’s children, Carly, now 9 years old, knows Brooke is technically her older sister, but understands that a family with a 12-year-old who’s still a baby — is just different.

"It feels kind of strange," says Carly. "She’s older than me but she’s smaller than me. And I actually feel like I am her older sister."

The whole family helps with Brooke, accepts her for who she is, and for now, has given up looking for answers.

"When we did 'Dateline' before, nobody came forth that 'we have a case just like this,'" says Melanie, who had hoped that the publicity would provide her with some answers. "We had no doctors give us a cure. So we faced reality and we just said, 'She’s here for a reason, she is fine in our eyes the way she is.'"

With no diagnosis, the Greenbergs do not know what Brooke’s future holds... but they take nothing for granted.

"Our 12 years has been a journey, a journey that as each day goes becomes more unique," says Melanie.

"She’s just a miracle. Just an angel," says her father.

Melanie adds, "We just hope she’s happy every day."

© 2005 MSNBC Interactive

"Ye shall know them by their fruits"
~ Matthew 7:16

"Believe nothing. No matter where you read it, or who said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."
~ Buddha
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