​Woman, 20, Toddler: Doctors Testing Genome To Find Answers​​

By: | 01/14/2013 10:23 AM ET

Brooke Greenberg is a woman who is 20 year old, despite looking like a toddler, with an estimated mental age of nine months to one year. Doctors say she has a condition called Syndrome X, but they are sequencing her genome in hope of finding answers.

Woman 20 Toddler

Appearing on Katie with her parents and 17-year-old sister, Brooke, who is from Maryland, is unable to talk, still has her baby teeth and like any infant, travels in a push chair - but doctors have never been able to explain why.

“From age one to four, Brooke changed. She got a little bit bigger. But age four, four to five, she stopped,” her father, Howard Greenberg, said.

She has been examined by some of the most prestigious medical institutions in the U.S., however no formal diagnosis for Brooke’s condition has been given, leading doctors to term her condition Syndrome X.

Dr Eric Schadt, director of the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, explained that she 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.”

Brooke, who has stayed the same size for 15 years, requires 24-hour care from her parents.She is fed through a tube inserted into her stomach, because her oesophagus is so small that swallowed food could back up into her lungs and cause pneumonia.

“It’s been 16 years of on the job training, giving her medicine, knowing when she’s sick, knowing the right amount,” her mother, Melanie Greenberg, said. “The key with Brooke is we don’t know what tomorrow brings.”

Scientists believe her unique genetic code could provide a fresh insight into the process of aging, leading to the development of new treatments for diseases related to old age, such as Parkinson’s.