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The fountain of youth could be in each of us

Throughout history explorers, adventurers, kings and queens alike have all been tempted by the journey to find the elixir of life immortal, the fountain of youth. In the last few centuries we have as a society completely written off the thought of living forever and become content with adding a few more years or maybe a decade or two of life and calling it good. Well it looks like the hunt for the fountain of youth may becoming full circle and into the lime light once again. Several news agencies have done stories on a little girl in Maryland who seems to be doing the impossible... not aging!

Brooke Greenberg is a 16 year old girl who looks, functions and exists to us as an infant however, scientist and doctors have been able to find no explination as to why. They have looked at her gene's, her chromozones and medical tests and they are all left scratching their heads as to why and how Brooke's body is not aging. I should offer a little more explination here on exactly what Brooke's body is doing. While physically she looks as though she is just over a year old there are certain parts of her body that appear to have aged independantly of the rest. Her teeth for example, while still being baby teeth, are approximately 8 years old and her bones appear to be around the 10 year mark. The interesting points in this story don't stop there though, they get much wierder...

During the first few years of her life Brooke was faced with several medical issues that leaves your jaw several inches lower than we you found out she hadn't aged. I will highlight a couple of these now:

  • She suffered a seizure followed by what was diagnosed as a stroke only to reveal no damage done weeks later
  • In her fragile condition she had a major surgery for 7 perforated stomach ulcers, again with no permanent damage
  • When she was 4 years old something (origin unknown) caused her to slip into a coma which lasted for 14 days followed by a diagnosis of a brain tumor from the doctors. The family was prepared to say goodbye to their daughter and actually purchased a casket only to receive a phone call from the doctor informing them that Brooke had woken up and there was no sign of the brain tumor (or that there ever was one.)

Could this little girl right here in our own backyard have inside her the key to one of the questions that we as a species has been searching for for millennia? I think she just might. So far scientist have not been able to find the gene that is responsible for her condition although some doctors and scientist are positive that a gene is responsible. Think of the benefits this gene could give us. Allowing us to choose not only when we stop growing old but to do so in a 'area of the body' kind of way. If I like the way my face looked at 16 and the way my body looked at 24 this gene just may provide me the way to stay like that... permanently. Could this be the proof that death and aging are not unavoidable consiquences brought about by either God or our genes? What effects could this discovery have on the fields of religion, genetics and ethics? Personally, I'm looking forward to finding out the answer.

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