A 20 Year Old Trapped In A 5 Year Old’s Body

We all know an adult who absolutely refuses to grow up, who doesn’t take responsibility for their actions, or who relies on others for basic necessities.  We normally say that they are trapped in a younger person’s body.  Well, here’s the story of a woman (girl?) who is 20 years old but has not grown at all since age 5.  She had all the normal functionality of a 5 year old.  Not the mutant power I would want to have.

Her name is Brooke Greenberg and she hasn’t had a terribly good life.  She’s had strokes, tumors, and been in a coma, but she’s survived this long.  Scientists are now studying her genome to see if they can figure out what is causing this mysterious lack of maturation.  They have already ruled out any hormonal problems.

This leads to some fascinating questions.  Can a perpetual 5 year old die of old age?  Will Brooke live forever?  Is what is wrong with her the answer to immortality for everybody?  Will we soon be able to choose an age to stop aging?  What would the implications of such technology?  Would we allow parents to keep a perpetual 5 year old?  What age would you have to be to make a decision like that?  18?  21? 40?  Would we become a world of perpetual 21 year olds?

It is not often that you can point to someone and say they are unique.  Brooke certainly qualifies.  If scientists can crack her mystery, she may go down as the most important person who ever lived.