I love a medical mystery

I came across this story recently due to a mention in an Allure magazine.  Brooke Greenberg is 16-years old in that she was born 16 years ago, but is only 2 1/2 feet tall, weighs 16 pounds, has 10-year old bones, 6-year old teeth, and a brain that is less than 1-year old.  Due to a mutation in the genes controlling development and aging, her body is not developing as a whole unit but rather as bits and pieces aging at their own rate independent of each other.  It's quite amazing.

(left to right) Older sisters, Caitlin, age 4, and Emily, 8, with Brooke, 1
Photo from Fox News.

(left to right) 11 years later, Brooke, now age 12, and younger sister Carly, 9.
Photo from ABC News.

You can go here for more photos.  It's interesting to notice that in the photos where Brooke is 1-3ish years, she still has her baby fat, but as she's gotten older it seems as though she has thinned out and lost the baby fat (as you would expect any growing child to).

I think it's especially intriguing to hear her family describe her personality.  Like this quote from her sister, Caitlin: She looks like a 6-month-old, but she kind of has a personality of a 16-year-old. [End quote]  And reports from her mom about how she likes shopping and rock music.  Now I'm no expert in babies, but it seems as though her mind is developed past that of a typical infant even though she is unable to voice it.  Makes you wonder what she's thinking or if she is aware that, somehow, she is different from her sisters.

Also mind boggling is her ability to surpass health obstacles thrown her way.  Such as seven perforated stomach ulcers, surviving a stroke with no apparent damage, and sleeping away a brain tumor (re: this article).  Seems as though there's more than some unsynchronized development going on here.

Frankly, not only Brooke, but her family as well, is a novelty to society.  They don't abandon her; they don't leave her w/ the nurses to go about their lives and play with all the other grown-ups.  They stick by her side and love her for the person she is.  "The Greenbergs take no vacations, have few nights out and involve Brooke in as many family activities as possible. 'To go to a swimming pool for the summer, or belong to a summer club ... we tried all those things, and it's lacking something,' her mother said. 'Brooke's not there. We're not a family without Brooke.' (re: this article)." 

It's settled, Brooke and her family are awesome.

 Brooke, age 16; mom, Melanie; dad, Howard; and sister Caitlin, 19.
Photo from Fox News.

And now I have to rant about some stupid people (Ok, they're probably not stupid, but they say some stupid things.).
First: A quote (re: this article) from Dr. Richard F Walker of Clinical Intervention in Aging:  Brooke is a unique individual because she has a mutation in the developmental gene that prevents her from aging, and she’s in the developmental phase...There’s no hope for her, but what she brings to science is information on how we may be able to delay aging. [End quote]
Are we as a society actually so paranoid of growing old that the first thing we think of from Brooke's story is the Fountain of Youth*?  Take a second to think about this.  Brooke's genetic anomaly seems to be affecting, not aging, but her development, which is at the opposite end of the spectrum as aging.  Her body doesn't enable her to walk, no coordination to dance or jump.  Her brain doesn't allow her to learn higher levels of communication; she clearly has an evolving personality and preferences, but she can't speak about them or write them down or express these through sign language.  Now, do we really want to dabble in these genetic mutations just so our skin stays smooth and our bodies remain enabled indefinitely?  Maybe there's a reason for becoming old and decrepit and dying.  Maybe it's the circle of life (yes, that was a Lion King reference).  Maybe we should get over our mortality and accept it.

Second, and related to first, is Greg (I don't know Greg but I'm using his name because he did.), he left this comment on a 2005 blog post that was debating whether or not Brooke's story was a hoax (At that time there wasn't much media coverage.).  Quoting Greg:  If this girl really is a medical miracle then the human race deserves to have their best take a look. Genetic anomalies like this are probably rare and maybe would be hundreds of years to have another chance to study. [End quote]  Really, Greg?  Really?!  The human race DESERVES to take a look.  So are you saying we DESERVE to poke at every single abnormality out there, without considering the desires of the abnormality's owner, the PERSON?  Really?  If so, can we have our "best take a look" into how you came to make statements reeking of such douche-baggery?

Ok, I'm done ranting.

*For the record, conquistador Juan Ponce de León, didn't actually mention the alleged Fountain of Youth in his diaries (Yes, boys keep diaries.); he stuck to the much more rational claim that he was searching for gold.  The connection between the two was made by the historian, Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo; turns out though, he probably made it up to gain political favor (re: wikialwayscredible).  Damn politicians. 


is that hummus on my arse?

I just realized that I haven’t kept you, dear readers, updated on my Body-by-Glamour-destroy-my-lazy-and-gluttonous-ways affair (re: this post). Before I let you fool yourselves into thinking otherwise, this was completely intentional on my part. It’s been a bust. I think I kept with the program for approximately oh, a month, or say three to two-ish weeks, maybe. Now before you get all judgmental and squinty eyed and pointing fingers, just remember that I did warn you of the likelihood of this outcome. (And in my defense, I've been able to recommence my goals of sporting a teenage-boy body type simply by not caving to crazy emotional eating urges and by running and letting the wonders of yoga kick my ass.).

Ultimately I decided the whole B by G ordeal was too much effort, and I have much more important things to do… just take my word on that.

Another reason for the abandonment was that keeping track of calories made me think all the more about yummy food. And aside from that becoming quite annoying, it is, in fact, the opposite of ideal for weight loss. MSN concurs. See, they gathered all of their internet scientists* and came up with this article** that tells you how to think yourself skinny. For example, MSN specialists* report that skinny people take a care-free approach to eating and food – they just don’t really think about it and so their schedules are not contingent on where their next meal will come from. In dire contrast, chunkers think about food and eating constantly – whether they’re having too much, what’s good, what’s bad, too much fat, too sugary, too salty, not enough fiber, blah blah blah (Annoying already, eh?). The solution? Be care-free! Think like the skinny people and the world will finally be right!

Skinnies, again according to the authority* of MSN, take that same care-free approach and apply it to hunger. Stomach growling? Not a big deal! McDonalds is waiting right around the corner with a Big Mac to fulfill those familiar pangs. OK, so probably not the go-to answer for skinnies, but the point is that they know they’ll get fed at some point so it’s not imperative to address the rumbly in the tumbly right away. Chunkers, on the other hand, feel it necessary to rush to answer the stomach’s beck and call.

For example, that’s what happened to me after I went grocery shopping this evening. In all honesty, I went brownie and vanilla ice cream shopping because that’s what the stomach growls have been requesting ever since a certain hormonal rage reared its ugly head. However, upon entering the grocery store I was coerced into participating in the tangled web of marketing and bright packaging and so was forced to browse the aisles. And thank my lucky stars I did because, low and behold, hummus – ONE dollar (If you do not know, hummus typically costs 4ish dollars plus your firstborn, so this was quite the find.). You can bet I loaded up. And then I predictably had to pick up some pita bread for the delicious hummus and veggie sandwiches that follow this sort of discovery. Eventually I found the brownies and ice cream and made it out the door.

I was planning on running and yoga-ing once I got home, but I had to do a couple other errands first. Being the smart cookie that I am, I decided to gnaw on some pita and hummus whilst fulfilling these burdensome responsibilities. That way when I got home I wouldn’t be hungry, the food would be digested, and I would be able to slip into my running shoes and take off like a gazelle.

So I tore into the hummus and pita while driving around. Nyum nyum nyum.

I got to my office and ran in to retrieve some things when I noticed that the butt of my pants felt a bit moist. So I wiped my hand down my backside and what did I find? Why, a glob of hummus of course. If you haven't been acquanted with hummus, it is a creamy consistency and tan in color. So a glob of hummus may in some ways resemble a glob of yummy tan poo. On my ass. Hawt.

Now if I would’ve taken the MSN skinny approach I wouldn’t have felt the burning need to answer those nagging hunger pangs, as soon as possible, in my car while driving down the highway; and I would have successfully walked through the hallways without hummus on my arse. And maybe it would become a habit for me to be care-free about food and hunger, and I would one day be effortlessly thin. But then I wouldn’t have produced this awesome blog post, and you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to waste five minutes. Sounds like a lose-lose situation to me.

In case you were wondering, I also made the brownies this evening. And they were remarkable in all of their melted-ice-cream-and-brownie-goo glory. AND they were successful at chasing away the irrationally rageful lady hormones. Two points, brownies. Zero points, Body by Glamour and MSN experts*.

*If you haven't picked up on my sarcasm yet, I don't give much credit to the expertise of MSN articles.
**This article does actually have a few interesting points, though I can think of lots of people that don't fit their descriptions of skinnies and chunkers. Hmm...goes to show we weren't made from cookie cutters.


P-R-O-C-R-A-S-T-I-N-A-T-E spells:

So if no other good comes of writing this thesis, at least it has provided me with sufficient voids of procrastination to be filled with grandiose explorations into various websites. This greatly speaks of the pure quantity of procrastination going into this endeavor, because I usually don't have nearly enough energy to force myself to focus on items I've dubbed inconsequential to my survival (say, for example, tacos) for more than a few seconds, minutes max. But place a daunting task in front of me involving hours of sitting and reading and ruminating and writing and deleting and rewording and more ruminating, and apparently I'm all ears (Figuratively speaking of course, as I am typically reading these items-by-which-to-procrastinate.).

Here I will provide you with some recent developments (Hold on to your hats!):

This video:

about this blog's subsequent book:

Upon coming across this I initially, and understandably, thought, "Ah, how nice to finally receive some recognition." Much to my dismay, however, the author has failed to devise a post about me.
No, but seriously, how adorable is that song and its story? I usually gag in response to matters this adorable, but this one may have actually caused me to squeal in delight.

TWO (and a half).
This trailer:

Because I particularly love watching awkward social situations played out onscreen; second only to seeing them played out in real life.
Oh, and this delicious film of awkward is about the going-ons of Davy Rothbart and his FOUND magazine, which also proves to be quite entertaining.

(One and two were discovered whilst carousing the new PostSecrets.)

This guy has multi-strain resistant TB that he contracted while tramping around S America. He's been in quarantine since December 9, 2009 and has since been dutifully providing us with online entertainment. Plus he's Australian which takes me back to my days in Brisbane, by the ocean, drinking boxed wine, not writing a thesis...
You should watch this one: Life in Quarantine
Or this one: F* you, I'm a Ukelele
They're prob my faves.

This song rawks:

Apparently this vid is a recent remake though (which has left snobby music fans with their panties all in a twist (according to youtube comments)...perhaps I'll post a rant about obnoxious music snobs some other day.), but you can check out the original one here: bad-assery. I must admit to enjoying the original better; though that doesn't mean you have to. Regardless, I dare you not to wave your hands around as you shimmy your hips to this one.

This post has made me realize that I've failed to post much original material lately; recent posts have mainly equated to synopses of others' talent (Let me say post one more time: post.). Sigh, that makes me sad.


I don't know what it is...

But I love this band.

I have this nagging feeling though, whilst rocking out to their anthem, that I may be enjoying it a bit too much and that perhaps they're not really all that great. Maybe they do have just another recycled garage sound, but something about hearing their angsty lyrics and grungy vocals and I warp back to high school; and I've got the windows rolled down in my 4-speed tercel, the radio is up as loud as it goes (i.e. not loud), and my single responsibility is jamming while driving down country roads juxtaposed only to cornfields. Not a care in the world but which cornfield we're going to drink bad beer in during the upcoming weekend or "Hmmm..maybe I should highlight my hair tonight." And I can legitimately laugh at all the grown-ups when they ask what I'm going to do when I grow up; because, c'mon, I'm in high school and driving a tomato red tercel, careers are the last thing on my mind.

Check out the doughnut tires!... I miss the doughnut tires!

Oh, nostalgia, you're not helping me write this thesis. Le sigh.


I said darlin' why so blue?

If you're feeling as bitchy as me today, turn up the volume, bob your head to the beat, and start jammin'...It's good

Ah, give it up for tiny under-age boys rocking it out.  I mean, if they can live their dream, surely you and I can too, right?

Now - you shake.