That’s right: Brooke (right) turned 16 years old this past January but to the casual observer – at 16 pounds and 30 inches – she simply appears to be a healthy infant with the mental capacity of a toddler.
While it’s clear that Brooke is not aging or maturing as she should, what’s interesting is that her body does not seem to be aging (or not aging, as the case may be) at the same rate. For example, while 16-year-old Brooke’s physical size is consistent with an infant, tests reveal Brooke’s bones to be about 10 years old, yet Brooke still has all of her baby teeth, something children start losing around 6 or 7 years of age.
Brooke was administered growth hormones when she was younger but was completely unresponsive.
AND, as if it couldn’t get weirder, Brooke has had a series of inexplicable illnesses from which she has (also) inexplicably recovered from:
In her first six years… [s]he survived surgery for seven perforated stomach ulcers. She suffered a brain seizure followed by what was diagnosed as a stroke that weeks later left no apparent damage.
At 4, she fell into a lethargy that caused her to sleep for 14 days. Then, doctors diagnosed a brain tumor, and the Greenbergs bought a casket for her.
“We were preparing for our child to die,” Howard Greenberg said. “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.”
Brooke’s doctor said the source of her sudden illnesses remains a mystery.
Doctors are currently examining Brooke’s DNA for clues about human aging and death. Her dad: “Brooke is the nucleus of our family. What if Brooke holds the secret to aging? We’d like to find out. We’d like to help people. Everybody’s here for a reason. Maybe this is why Brooke is here.”
More: Photo gallery of Brooke through the years (ABC News)
For more on Brooke, watch 20/20 on Friday, June 26 at 10:00 PM ET on ABC and a special documentary airing Sunday, August 9 at 9:00 PM ET on TLC.