Man trapped inside baby’s body
WITH his cheeky smile and mischievous nature he looks like any other adorable toddler but Manpreet Singh is actually 23 years old.
Manpreet suffers from a mystery condition that saw him stop growing at around one year old, leaving him trapped inside a baby's body.
At just 60cm tall and weighing less than 5kg, the young man from Mansa in the northwestern Indian state of Punjab cannot walk, can only speak a few words, such as "maa" (mum) and "mama" (uncle), and must be carried everywhere.
"Manpreet giggles like a toddler and seldom gets sad," Manpreet's uncle Karanvir Singh, 45, told the Deccan Chronicle.
"It's only when the dogs or any other animal makes a sound, he gets terrified and cries. He is a delightful child and gestures the guests with his hands to sit, and tries to befriend them."
Mr Singh and his wife Lakhwinder Kaur took in their nephew after his parents Majeet and Jagtar could no longer afford his medical expenses.
Locals in his adopted home worship Manpreet as a god and regularly come to their home to receive blessings from him. Videos show a steady stream of devotees kneeling before Manpreet while he playfully pats them on the head.
"Manpreet loves milk cake and eats roti. He loves his morning tea and eats only one or two rotis a day without any mischief, Ms Kaur said.
"Though he only speaks in monosyllables like 'maa' (mum) and 'mama' (uncle), he learned the skills to communicate through gestures.
"He has also become an expert in mimicking people. He would greet a guest by shaking hands with them and request them to take a seat."
According to his family, Mr Singh was carried by his mother for an unusually long ten and a half months but appeared to be perfectly normal following his 1995 birth.
When he abruptly stopped growing after turning one, doctors told his parents not to worry and that he would likely start developing again like a normal child.
When that didn't happen, he was sent to live with Mr Singh and Ms Kaur in Hisar, a city 120km away, where specialists at a government hospital have been trying to establish the cause of his condition.
A medical officer at the state-run facility, MK Bhadu, said doctors there believed Manpreet's stunted development was hormone related.
"The patient's growth stopped due to some hormonal imbalance," Mr Bhadu told NTDTV in an interview posted to YouTube.
"A child begins to develop mentally and physically from the age of three. If his body is not developing, the parents should take him to a better medical facility and get him treated."
According to The Sun, some scientists believe Manpreet may have Laron Syndrome, a rare genetic condition that is believed to affect around 300 people in the world. Those living with Laron are lacking in a hormone called Insulin-like Growth Factor 1, or IGF-1, which stimulates cells to grow.
Manpreet's family have been told that the cost of investigating and treating his condition will cost upwards of 500,000 rupees ($AU9900) - money they simply do not have.
A local media organisation has set up a crowd-funding page in the hope that people from all over the world will donate to the cause.
"We don't have enough funds to take him to a better doctor or hospital," Mr Singh said. "We appeal to the kind people of the internet to help us raise funds for Manpreet's treatment.