26 June 2009

Ageless girl?

The message of the ABC news agency at first glance gives the impression of a bad joke: 16-year-old Brooke Greenberg from Baltimore looks like a six-month-old child. But an article by Richard F. Walker et al. A case study of “disorganized development" and its possible relevance to genetic determinants of aging, published in the May issue of the journal Mechanisms of Aging and Development, convinces: this girl is really 16 years old.

Brookie's weight is 16 pounds (7.3 kg), height is 30 inches (76 cm), mental development is at the level of a one–year–old child. At the same time, her body develops not as a whole, but as a set of independent parts. The girl has preserved her baby teeth, the condition of the bone tissue corresponds to the age of 10, and the brain has undergone only minor changes since early childhood. Her three sisters are 13, 19 and 22 years old. That's how they look: in the picture – 16-year-old Brookie and 13-year-old Carly. (If you want, you can watch other pictures and a video on the ABC News website.)

The girl's mother, Melanie, prefers not to answer questions about the child's age, but decided for herself that she would count every year her daughter lived for a month.

Neither the girl's attending physician Lawrence Pakula from Johns Hopkins Medical Center, nor his co-authors from the Universities of South Florida and Texas and the Children's Hospital of St. Petersburg (Florida) they could not find the reason for this phenomenon. Numerous examinations have not revealed any genetic or chromosomal abnormalities. Trial treatment with hormonal drugs did not give results.

In fact, it is impossible to consider Brooke ageless: the generally accepted indicator of aging - the length of telomeres at the ends of the chromosomes of her body's cells – corresponds to the age of 16. Nevertheless, scientists continue to search for the gene that caused such an unusual developmental delay in the hope of obtaining new data on the mechanisms of aging.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru/26.06.2009

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