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Layla Qualls looks like a happy, 9- to 10-month-old baby— but she’s actually three years old. The Oklahoma girl was diagnosed with Syndrome X, which means she will never age.
Researchers from the University of California Los Angeles studied Layla as one of seven children found worldwide with Syndrome X to understand the extremely rare condition, News9.com reported. They hoped to find the condition’s genetic blueprint to see which genes are slowing down the aging process.
Their study concluded that the blood of Syndrome X children does not look younger than that of a normal child, but the research won’t stop there.
"It would have been nice to say we found a footprint of the mechanism that could explain that condition," study author Dr. Steve Horvath told News9.com. "As a researcher you need to continue searching."
For Layla’s family, whatever doctors would find doesn’t change how they feel about their girl.
"She might be like this forever and she might not walk and do other things that other children do but that's okay with us, we still love her," mom Felicia Qualls, told News9.com.
Layla, the second child born to Felicia and Jesse, wouldn’t eat when she was born and wasn’t able to gain weight. She turned three on May 3 and only weighs 19 pounds. Her doctors are baffled for an explanation.
"She's seen, it seems, like every specialist there is, everything comes back normal," Jesse told News9.com.
"And that is frustrating because you know after all those tests, they're all normal but we know she's not normal," Felicia told the news channel.
According to News9.com, the researchers are in the process of doing a genetic study on the Syndrome X children.