Brooke Greenberg, 20-year-old who never aged, dies

Brooke Greenberg, the toddler-sized 20-year-old, was buried Saturday in Maryland.
Posted By Veronica Linares   |  Oct. 30, 2013 at 11:17 AM
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(UPI) -- Brooke Greenberg, the 20-year-old who baffled scientists and physicians because she never aged has died, still the size of an infant and with the mental capacity of a 2-year-old.

Brooke was one of about a dozen children in the world who suffer from syndrome X, a disorder that prevents them from aging. Her funeral was held Sunday at a synagogue in Baltimore.

The daughter of Howard and Melanie Greenberg from Reisterstown, Md., Brooke stopped changing when she turned 4.

That same year, the girl fell into a lethargy that caused her to sleep for 14 days. Doctors at the time diagnosed her with a brain tumor and the Greenbergs prepared for the worst.

"We were preparing for our child to die," Howard Greenberg said in a 2009 interview. "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."

By age 10, Brooke still had baby teeth. By age 16 her bone age was estimated to be that of a 10-year-old.

"There've been very minimal changes in Brooke's brain," said Richard F. Walker, a retired medical researcher from the University of Florida Medical School. "Various parts of her body, rather than all being at the same stage, seem to be disconnected."

Brook went on to live for 20 years as a toddler. Her family's rabbi remembered her life with dignity in a eulogy this week.

"While the outside world may have noticed Brooke's physical stature and been puzzled by her unique development state, she brought joy and love to her family," Rabbi Andrew Busch told the New York Daily News. "Her parents, three sisters and extended family showered her with love and respected her dignity throughout her entire life."

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