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Researchers Study Mystery of the Toddler Who Won't Grow

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the stubborn-genes dept.

Medicine 252

kkleiner writes "Twenty-year-old Brooke Greenberg hasn't grown since age five. For the last 15 years, mystified doctors have been unable to explain the cause for Brooke's disorder that has kept her aging in check. At age twenty, she maintains the physical and mental appearance of a toddler. The researchers are now are painstakingly analyzing Brooke’s entire genome in search of unique mutations. Needless to say, it is a formidable undertaking. 'Cracking the code on Brooke’s condition,' [Dr. Eric Shadt] wrote, 'is the proverbial searching for a needle in a haystack, since likely there is one or a small number of letters changed in Brooke’s genome that has caused her condition.' To find the mutation Shadt and his team are using the latest genome sequencing and analysis tools. The strategy is to compare Brooke’s genome to the genomes of her parents and three normal sisters, as well as to other available sequences from the general population, and identify gene mutations that only Brooke has."

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4chan (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608137)

4chan is going to love this one.

Re:4chan (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608185)

Unless I missed it, there's no indication that she mentally progressed past 5 years old. That might complicate her legality, and I can't believe I'm discussing this.

Re:4chan (5, Funny)

cod3r_ (2031620) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608339)

You should be more concerned that you even caught what he meant.

Re:4chan (2)

erroneus (253617) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608457)

Not sure what you are talking about exactly... ... so ToGTFO and Pics or it didn't happen.

Re:4chan (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608721)

Erm, we might want to forego the usual procedure on this one

Re:4chan (5, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608719)

4chan is going to love this one.

A 20-year-old with the mental makeup of a 5-year-old? I'm guessing she'd fit right in on 4chan.

Probably caused by cat poop (-1, Troll)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608151)

Do the parents have any cats? My research has found that after Flouridation, cat feces and the parasites they harbor are the leading cause of Satanic capture.

Re:Probably caused by cat poop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608257)

Please stop writing those retarded comments already. They won't fix your problems and are not nice to read.

Re:Probably caused by cat poop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608559)

Speak for yourself.

Re:Probably caused by cat poop (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608849)

I LOL'd pretty hard XD

Mental appearance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608155)

wtf?

Re:Mental appearance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608223)

Yeah, no matter how hard I try to picture her looking older, it just doesn't work!

Re:Mental appearance? (5, Informative)

Dzimas (547818) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608247)

Originally a term used in Jungian psychology to describe how one presents their consciousness (persona/image/self) to the outside world. In this context, it indicates that Brooke responds to the world in a manner appropriate for a 5-year-old.

Re:Mental appearance? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608509)

opp opp OPPAN JUNGIAN STYLE

Re:Mental appearance? (5, Funny)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608869)

Heeeeeeey psych. class ladies!

Re:Mental appearance? (1)

cod3r_ (2031620) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608287)

first thing I thought too. Not sure what that means.

think of the possible implications! (4, Funny)

queazocotal (915608) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608187)

Perpetual kittens.

Re:think of the possible implications! (4, Interesting)

nephilimsd (936642) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608205)

I wonder what the long term effects of this condition might be. Is it possible to die of old age when you don't age?

Re:think of the possible implications! (4, Insightful)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608409)

!growing != !aging

Re:think of the possible implications! (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608493)

!growing != !aging

Sure, but the summary specifies that she doesn't age, so unless you know that's wrong, your point is kinda pointless.

Re:think of the possible implications! (5, Informative)

deesine (722173) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608675)

It's not in the summary or article, but wikipedia [wikipedia.org] says her body is aging, with different parts aging at different rates. And that "her telomeres seem to be shortening at the normal rate."

Re:think of the possible implications! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608425)

Likely yes, since the deterioration that comes from aging is due to genetic mutations that build up over time. Those mutations are probably going to keep happening whether or not the subject is developing properly.

Re:think of the possible implications! (5, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608461)

I'd be interested to see a telomere study. Physiologically she's four years old, but is she four at the cellular and genetic levels?

Re:think of the possible implications! (5, Informative)

Baloroth (2370816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608561)

I'd be interested to see a telomere study. Physiologically she's four years old, but is she four at the cellular and genetic levels?

According to this [sciencedirect.com] study, her telomeres match her chronological age, so she appears to be aging in that sense.

Re:think of the possible implications! (2)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608627)

Good to know she merely the "fountain of youth" not the "fountain of immortality".

Re:think of the possible implications! (4, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608943)

Yeah we are nowhere near mature enough as a civilization for such a discovery. It would be like discovering nukes in the bronze age.

Re:think of the possible implications! (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608857)

Which means, whatever the apparent signs that she isn't aging, she is accruing genetic damage over time and will age at least in the cellular sense.

Re:think of the possible implications! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608477)

Well if the claims of her regenerative capabilities are true...theoretical immortality. Which is in some respects is a terrifying prospect.

Re:think of the possible implications! (2)

Rhacman (1528815) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608891)

My greatest fear would be biological immortality coupled with the inability to take my own life if and when I should so choose. Could you imagine if a person like this was born into some fanatic religious sect? She'd be seen as some sort of diety or messenger from god.

Re:think of the possible implications! (1)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608505)

Well... I guess we'll find out when she dies and the news makes it to Slashdot. Even then, I wouldn't bet on it amounting to much--the article said she had a stroke at an early age, and that's normally something that usually comes at a later age...

Re:think of the possible implications! (3, Funny)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608531)

Perpetual kittens.

Normally, I'm against screwing around too much with nature. But goddamn that would be worth it!

Obligatory Star Trek reference (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608227)

The Grups are studying her intensely.

BANG BANG

brain damage? (4, Interesting)

pezpunk (205653) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608241)

obviously the scientists studying her have far better qualifications and information than i do, but i can't help but think damage to the brain due to the stroke, coma, and brain tumor she suffered at age 4 (right before she stopped developing) could be a more likely cause than her particular genetic makeup.

Re:brain damage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608359)

What about a spacetime bubble that keeps her in stasis? It could dissolve when other people need to touch or communicate with her, but reform at other times to prevent her from aging. Unfortunately it would require an incredibly massive object to pull that off. It would have to be a black hole or a wormhole. And how it would dissolve, reform, or not destroy the planet Earth is a mystery.

Wouldn't They See That in the Endocrine System? (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608393)

obviously the scientists studying her have far better qualifications and information than i do, but i can't help but think damage to the brain due to the stroke, coma, and brain tumor she suffered at age 4 (right before she stopped developing) could be a more likely cause than her particular genetic makeup.

Well from the article they said:

“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.”

I assume that the endocrine system would have to be affected in order to cause such stunted growth? If the stroke, coma or brain tumor led to this wouldn't they see that abnormality reflected in these growth regulating systems? Also from the article the researchers claimed:

“Cracking the code on Brooke’s condition,” Shadt wrote, “is the proverbial searching for a needle in a haystack, since likely there is one or a small number of letters changed in Brooke’s genome that has caused her condition.”

Some googling turned up older studies [wikipedia.org] that claim there are no known genetic disorders present or even chromosomal abnormalities and her telomeres seem to be shortening at the normal rate. Also, apparently her body parts are developing out of synchronization. I guess it's possible there is a hidden system that synchronizes development so that your body doesn't develop asymmetrically? And we just haven't found this yet.

Sort of offtopic but I'm a little disappointed that this unfortunate affliction for this person is being spun as a possible "fountain of eternal youth" in the article. Come on, people. We should be working to better understand this so we can help people ... that Kurzweil Singularity bullshit should be left out of the discussion until we fully understand it.

Re:Wouldn't They See That in the Endocrine System? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608935)

Her condition may not be exactly "horrible". It's hard to know what she thinks of not being an adult.

When I was 5, I though girls were icky. Continuing to be able to think that might have saved me a lot of time and money.

Re:brain damage? (1)

cfulton (543949) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608395)

Stop being logical and making sense. She is the key to life eternal. You just wanna kill our joy at the proposition of a pill that allows us to live forever.

Re:brain damage? (3, Insightful)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608985)

She is the key to life eternal.

No, she is the key to never developing past the physical or mental age of 5. Nobody said she'll never die. Five year olds can die, too.

And while she's got a lock on the physical age thing, many /. posters demonstrate the prior art that would prevent her from getting a patent on the mental part.

Re:brain damage? (2, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608447)

damage to the brain due to the stroke, coma, and brain tumor she suffered at age 4 (right before she stopped developing) could be a more likely cause than her particular genetic makeup.

That sounds rather implausible. Many people have suffered brain damage in childhood, how many of them stopped aging because of that? That would have to be an extremely specific kind of damage. (Keep in mind that even for brain damage, it's often difficult to disable a part of brain's functionality to full extent since the brain has a capability of "routing around".)

Re:brain damage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608581)

But who has healed himself of a brain tumor?

Re:brain damage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608775)

IANAMD, but a pituitary tumor in the right place can cause gigantism (sp?), so if the pituitary got damaged, I could see it freezing one in time like this

Re:brain damage? (4, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608903)

Since she seems to have a one of a kind problem, any answer (even the correct one) will be implausible from a statistical standpoint. Either of the "it never did that before" variety or the "That never happens" variety.

Re:brain damage? (1)

pezpunk (205653) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608957)

of course it's implausible. she is completely unique amongst billions. EVERYONE has a relatively unique genetic makeup, and yet how many of us don't age? the answer seems to be "one."

Re:brain damage? (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608479)

Except they say her endocrine system seems to be running normally, which would, so far as I can tell, mean the hypothalamus was unaffected by the stroke. I'm sure that the effects of the stroke was probably one of the first things they checked.

Re:brain damage? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608587)

Why would you think those injuries to the brain, which pretty much has no effect on the progress of development, would affect the progress of her development?

Re:brain damage? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608669)

I would guess they are looking into that, but I'd also guess she's not really unique as far as that goes. Sadly, lots of kids get brain damage, strokes, and comas, yet only about 6 people that we know of have stopped developing in a similar way. Also, they've already found mutations and validated it in induced pluripotent stem cells, according to the article. So I think it is probably genetics.

Bioshock? (3, Funny)

spiritplumber (1944222) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608263)

Looks like she's actually not aging, and has some sort of ability to remove tumors. Is she being stalked by a giant in a diving suit?

Re:Bioshock? (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608355)

My first thought was the one episode of Highlander with the immortal who was stuck as a kid forever.

Re:Bioshock? (3, Interesting)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608751)

Or Cowboy Bebop's "Sympathy for the Devil".

Re:Bioshock? (1)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608919)

Or "In Time"...

Re:Bioshock? (4, Informative)

Jhon (241832) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608405)

I seem to remember reading an article about her a few years ago. IIRC, her telomeres are shortening at a normal rate -- which would suggest she *IS* aging at that level.

Re:Bioshock? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608735)

mod parent up--- this was a question not addressed in the article.

It changes it from "immortality/longer life" to looks young until closer to when she dies. I assume different cells running out would result in some aging symptoms. Some cells keep working at a decreased capacity.

Re:Bioshock? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608877)

I seem to remember reading an article about her a few years ago. IIRC, her telomeres are shortening at a normal rate -- which would suggest she *IS* aging at that level.

Except telomeres don't actually cause any of the symptoms people refer to as "aging" (it was hypothesised that they might when it was discovered that the shorten over time but that hypothesis didn't pan out.) They're an effective way of tracking how many times a cell has divided, but don't have any known impact on the function of your body.

"Fountain of Youth" Pill? (0)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608285)

If they find this gene and figure out how to control it, the finantial windfall will be staggering for Big Pharma - the "Fountain of Youth" treatment will be very expensive and only available to the rich and famous such as future Brad Pitts and George Clooneys... And possibly the future Leona Helmsleys...

Re:"Fountain of Youth" Pill? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608397)

Eh, the patent should expire after twenty years allowing for cheap generic treatments, and I'll probably still be alive then.

Re:"Fountain of Youth" Pill? (1)

queazocotal (915608) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608817)

If given a real motive to extend patent life - you think there wouldn't be a massive push for it?

Re:"Fountain of Youth" Pill? (1)

Jeng (926980) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608419)

Only in places that respect patents, you will be able to find businesses in other places claiming to do the same treatments for much less, and some of those places may not be scams.

Re:"Fountain of Youth" Pill? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608655)

Yeah, those damn Big Pharma companies and their research. If I were you I would stop taking their shit every time you have an health issue. Go homeopathic or something similar. You deserve the best.

Re:"Fountain of Youth" Pill? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608703)

Depends on the production method.

If it's anything like Deathwalker's technique, it's not hard to imagine the consequences being far worse.

Quick, somebody find a Vorlon.

interesting. (1)

the biologist (1659443) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608293)

The syndrome description as given is remarkably like Cretinism. Cretinism typically results from insufficient iodine levels in the diet during early childhood. This person may have mutation(s) which mimic the damage caused in Cretinism.

Re:interesting. (3, Informative)

Elder Entropist (788485) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608657)

Insufficient iodine levels cause Cretinism by causing the thyroid to not produce sufficient growth hormones. Since the article states her hormones are normal...

Human not freak show (1)

Marcion (876801) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608301)

Pretty sad that the focus of the article and medical attention seemed to be on using her genes for anti-ageing cosmetic treatments instead of curing her. I also found it at bit odd that she is shown in a pram (instead of say an adult wheelchair) and there is a baby cot in the background, these do not seem age appropriate, despite her lack of physical growth.

Re:Human not freak show (4, Insightful)

anagama (611277) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608387)

Right. Some tight skinny jeans and a bottle of vodka ... well, I suppose they should wait till she turns 21 for the vodka.

In all seriousness, if she has the mental age of a 5 year old, she is probably quite content being treated as one, and it would be highly innappropriate to treat her as older than she "really" is.

Re:Human not freak show (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608969)

How much of her "mental age" is a result of everyone treating her like a 5 year old?

The two main causes of "maturity" are puberty and social pressure to "act your age". If she skipped puberty because of her disorder and no one ever expected her to "grow up" what's left to cause her to behave differently as she ages?

Re:Human not freak show (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608399)

Curing how? Rewriting a person's genome is no trivial matter. It's tricky enough in a single cell, to do it in a complex multicellular organism is far beyond current ability.

If her genes contain the secret to prolonging life and defeating the curses of old age though, they must be used. She may not hold the secret to immortality, but she puts us all one step closer.

Re:Human not freak show (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608685)

Why would you re-write the genome? Find out what the deficiency is, hormonal or whatever, then give her the hormone her body is not. Knowing how to trigger it, or what caused it may allow for freezing aging at a specific age (everyone lives full lives looking 25), but curing her should be as simple as figuring out what her body is doing differently and chemically fixing it.

Re:Human not freak show (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608423)

She is also mentally at the state of a five year old, trying to treat her as a 20 year old would be both unfair to her and her caretakers. As far as a cure goes, if they think it's as deep as her genome, there isn't going to be one.

Re:Human not freak show (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608451)

"Age appropriate" ? What exactly are you concerned about? Mentally she is a toddler, physically she is a toddler. I don't think she minds being treated as a toddler.

Re:Human not freak show (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608481)

Pretty sad that the focus of the article and medical attention seemed to be on using her genes for anti-ageing cosmetic treatments instead of curing her.

I think you're minimizing the research potential -- a way to slow or stop aging entirely, not just a mere cosmetic improvement.

The hard thing about developing a treatment for a disease that no one understands and only a single person has is that there's no real way to test the treatment except on the subject herself, and if you screw it up, that person suffers for no reason since the treatment isn't going to help the rest of the people with the disease. Is it worse to let her live out her life the way she was born than to try an experimental treatment that could kill her or at least alter her development in a way that makes her life worse?

I also found it at bit odd that she is shown in a pram (instead of say an adult wheelchair) and there is a baby cot in the background, these do not seem age appropriate, despite her lack of physical growth.

They said that she has the mental development of a toddler as well as the physical appearance, so why isn't it age appropriate to treat her as a toddler? If she had the mental development of an adult (or conversely if she had the body of an adult but mental development of a toddler), then it may not be appropriate to treat her as a child.

Re:Human not freak show (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608487)

I also found it at bit odd that she is shown in a pram (instead of say an adult wheelchair) and there is a baby cot in the background, these do not seem age appropriate, despite her lack of physical growth.

Maybe if this child had progressed further than 5 years old mentally, but it seems to me that if you take a toddler sized person, who is mentally the same age as a todder anyway it doesn't really matter that this person is 20 years old. You've still got a toddler, and as the parent of a toddler I can tell you that they act like toddlers all the time.

So maybe the pram is more for integrating with society, because what is more odd: a baby in a baby carriage or a baby in its own wheelchair?

Re:Human not freak show (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608563)

Pretty sad that the focus of the article and medical attention seemed to be on using her genes for anti-ageing cosmetic treatments instead of curing her. I also found it at bit odd that she is shown in a pram (instead of say an adult wheelchair) and there is a baby cot in the background, these do not seem age appropriate, despite her lack of physical growth.

She hasn't aged, mentally or physically, as far as anyone can tell. I've been following this with some interest for several years. Initially, I thought it was only a physical disorder, but it has in some way affected her mental state, as well. I'm with the person who posted earlier, who thinks that the strange combination of things that happened at age 4 have a high probability of being part of the issue.

Nothing but love and respect for her and her family from my side, should anyone somehow misinterpret the above.

Re:Human not freak show (1)

nevlow (90586) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608579)

Oops, wasn't logged in. Brilliant me.

Re:Human not freak show (2)

pmsr (560617) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608571)

They mention, and I quote, potential therapy to "Alzheimer’s, heart disease or cancer". I barely noticed any focus on anti-ageing cosmetic treatments, but then again, I RTFA. So, stop shoving your narrow view of the world and science into everything.

Re:Human not freak show (3, Insightful)

alexmipego (903944) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608769)

Those researchers can't exactly get funding to cure a single patient that's literally unique with a syndrome that most likely never happened or will happen again.

However, if you say she might have the key for the cure of cancer and to stop aging they sure will get funded fast. If by some miracle they find a possible cure in the process, there's a chance that she might get that cure where otherwise the chance is a fat zero.

Re:Human not freak show (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608843)

I also found it at bit odd that she is shown in a pram (instead of say an adult wheelchair)

Well, adult wheelchairs are adult sized. If she's the size of a 4 or 5 year old, she definitely won't fit (and TFA shows her in a wheel chair, not what I'd call a pram).

As to your other point:

Unfortunately any gained insights would not be able to treat her condition, but it is hoped that identifying the genetic abnormalities could lead to new treatments for other diseases.

I think you can safely assume the doctors are looking out for her interests and not just the anti-aging cosmetics.

As to age appropriate, the article doesn't say anything about her intellectual development -- if she's the size of a 4 year old, and at the same mental level ... then a crib may be more appropriate. According to wiki [wikipedia.org] : Walker noted that Greenberg's brain, for example, is not much more mature than that of a newborn infant, at which point a crib is absolutely appropriate and in her best interests. She's likely quite delayed in her development, which means she'd need a crib to sleep safely.

We're not talking about someone who is fully matured in the brain, but just small. We're talking about someone with a whole raft of challenges. They're not taking an otherwise 'normal' adult and making her sleep in a crib.

The Observers are Coming (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608319)

It's Fringe's Anomaly XB-6783746

I'd bang the shit out of Carly (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608345)

Just saying. What a smokin' hottie!

You should try the sleeping beauty (1)

Dainsanefh (2009638) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608689)

This is even hotter instead, and she randomly sleeps for at least thousands of hours consecutively, and hyper sexuality.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vR4Ajo4yGUs [youtube.com]

Who knew? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608363)

Who had any idea that thousands of years of inbreeding could cause something like this?

And for the opposite case (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608365)

Well, technically our article is about aging rather than size, but I found it curious to have learned that a woman who recently died just would not stop growing [google.com] . Tanya Angus had suffered from gigantism that was induced by hormones released through her tumor-affected growth gland.

Re:And for the opposite case (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608755)

That's a condition that's well understood. I thought it could be corrected with surgery. Maybe something prevented the surgery from working, or it was too risky for other reasons. That's too bad; but it's not a mystery.

Beer (-1, Troll)

RedHackTea (2779623) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608383)

Dude, that's going to suck when she eventually tries to buy beer! And her future boyfriend will be locked up in jail every other week as a pedo.

Epigenetics (4, Interesting)

jbeaupre (752124) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608439)

Unfortunately, just analyzing genes might not be enough. Gene expression and epigenetics are the other half of the puzzle, and a bit more difficult to discover. Even if you know the code, it's damn difficult to determine where in the body (if anywhere) the code is or isn't active without taking samples all over the place and testing each.

For the computer literate, think of it this way. The researches are disassembling the code of several people to see if there is a difference. But that doesn't tell them what the run time parameters were when a particular bit of code was run (or what inputs it may have had while running). And sampling a memory dump from one CPU in a massively parallel system doesn't give you the whole story either.

Needle meets haystack.

Re:Epigenetics (2)

CMYKjunkie (1594319) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608545)

It sounds like they have a small problem on their hands!

Perpetual diaper changes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608441)

Poor parents.

Re:Perpetual diaper changes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608513)

At least it is small poop, unlike full grown people who have the mental faculties of a five year old.

Re:Perpetual diaper changes (4, Funny)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608529)

A normal five year old can use the toilet. Not everyone developed as slowly as you.

Vampire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608533)

Clearly no one involved has seen Interview With A Vampire.

A caveat: (1)

Hartree (191324) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608539)

Just because someone isn't developing doesn't neccessarily mean they aren't aging.

She may be accumulating some of the various types of damage that we all undergo as part of aging, but just not progressing in maturing to an adult state.

When a child develops from the reproductive cells of the parents effectively all or nearly all of the changes of aging present in the parents are undone. Brooke's genetic makeup may only be blocking SOME of those aging related changes along with blocking maturation.

As time goes on, assuming she stays alive and healthy enough for the studies (Gads, that sounds so cold and clinical. She's a human being with health difficulties not just a research object.) the researchers can see if some aging processes start becoming evident. But, 20 years old is still awfully young to be able to detect those.

What may be possible is to see what genetic changes she has and then try to recreate similar ones in lab animals that age faster than humans.

Telomeres? (1)

InvisibleClergy (1430277) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608553)

I wonder how gene damage and telomeres will play into the story of this person's aging.

Balok's Love-Child (4, Funny)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608575)

The kid's the product of a tranya fueled dalliance by her mom after a night out with Balok on his spaceship.

Telomeres are still shortening (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608585)

According to Wikipedia, which cites a study in a medical journal, her telomeres are still shortening at the normal rate. This would mean that if she lives to be 70 she'll likely appear to be a miniature 70 year old woman, with wrinkles and all. Since she'll never reach puberty, I have no idea if that will prevent her from experiencing the problems linked to hormones, which people experience, such as osteoporosis.

Something must happen at that age (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608613)

Jeffty is five [wikipedia.org] too. Maybe in her TV you could see the 25th season of Star Trek TNG.

She is growing (3, Interesting)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608629)

Just not all at the same time. Her left eye is not the eye of a five year old.

Wolverine? (1)

SoundGuyNoise (864550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608731)

Maybe she's Wolverine, and her immune system is attacking aging as an illness, but it kicked in at age 5 instead of adulthood.

Couric (1)

Sporkinum (655143) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608767)

Katie Couric is afflicted with soft focus syndrome. It also affects Diane Sawyer. She takes a personal interest in this since thye may be able to find a cure.

Fringe Event (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608855)

Sounds like a Fringe event. We need Walter Bishop, Olivia Dunham and the rest of the Fringe team to investigate.... :-)

She's Deadpool (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about a year and a half ago | (#42608881)

She regenerates, but the regeneration harms her mind and growth rate. She's Deadpool if Deadpool got his powers as a toddler. Hmmm, he has "comic awareness".. I wonder if she knows if this universe is a simulation or not.

The quest for Immortality backfires (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42608899)

Comment? I don't need no stinking comment!

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