Dr Richard Walker who studies Brooke Greenberg (a girl who is now 17 but has the development of a one year old) and believes Brooke may hold the key anti-aging therapies. Here is a 61 page presentation by Dr Walker
* a preliminary study of her DNA has suggested her failure to grow could be linked to defects in the genes that make the rest of humanity grow old.
* Walker and his colleagues, who are working with Brooke’s parents to ensure she benefits from any research findings, have just published a research paper which suggests that in reality some parts of her body have indeed aged — but slowly and all at different rates.
* “Our hypothesis is that she is suffering from damage in the gene or genes that co-ordinate the way the body develops and ages,” he said.
“If we can use her DNA to find that mutant gene then we can test it in laboratory animals to see if we can switch if off and slow down the ageing process at will.
“We think that she has a mutation in the genes that control her ageing and development so that she appears to have been frozen in time.
“If we can compare her genome to the normal version then we might be able to find those genes and see exactly what they do and how to control them.”
It follows a series of scientific breakthroughs showing that the life span of many animals can be dramatically extended by making minute changes in single genes.
The work began with tiny worms known as C elegans, which normally live for only about a fortnight. Researchers have been able to extend their life span by up to 10 weeks by making small changes in certain genes.
Scientists have gone on to discover that mutating the same genes in mice had the same effect
Brooke Greenberg (born January 8, 1993), is a 17 year old girl from Reisterstown, Maryland, who has remained physically and cognitively similar to a toddler, despite her increasing age. She is about 30 inches (76 cm) tall, weighs about 16 pounds (7.3 kg), and has an estimated mental age of 9 months to 1 year. Brooke’s doctors have termed her condition Syndrome X.