The man who can't grow old: Farmer, 34, is trapped in a child's body

A 34-year-old man in has been trapped in a child's body due to brain injuries he had when he was six.

Farmer Zhu Shengkai from the province of Hubei claimed his body stopped growing after he was hit in the head by a stone in his childhood. 

The man, who also works as a hairdresser, said: 'I am still like a child, therefore I cannot have a wife or child.'

He then joked: 'I cannot grow old.'


Speaking to Chinese media from his home in a village near the city of Wuhan, he added: 'Although I am 34 years old, my body functions are still immature like those of a child.' 

He said he was often mistaken for a boy by the others due to his child-like voice and looks. 

Mr Zhu said he was struck by the rock while playing a game.

He said he was told by doctors that he sustained injuries in the pituitary gland - part of the brain which releases hormones that control growth in the body.

However due to the lack of healthcare services in the 1980s in rural China, his condition never got treated properly.


According to the man, his head was not bleeding after he was hit, so he did not think much of it.

However on the same night, he started to have high fever and his condition failed to improve after three days. 

His parents took him to a local clinic and he was found to have a blood clot in his brain. Surgeons removed the lump and Mr Zhu's parents thought he had been cured.

Mr Zhu lived the next three years in a carefree way like other children. 

But when he was nine years old, he discovered that he had not grown taller. In addition, his body had remained the same as that of his six-year-old self.

After visiting bigger hospitals, he was informed that his pituitary gland had been damaged.

He followed doctor's orders and took medicine for five years, but no changes were observed.

He never went through puberty. 

Mr Zhu now makes a living by planting crops. He has also opened a hair salon to cut hair for his neighbours. 

The man is frustrated by the fact that his body still functions like that of a six-year-old, which makes it impossible for him to have his own family.

But at the same time, he is keeping a glass-half-full attitude. 

He said: 'I see the others [of my age] all have wrinkles on their faces, but my face is still tender and wrinkle-free. It will be also good if I can look like this when I am old.' 


The pituitary gland sends signals to other glands, for example the thyroid gland, to produce hormones.

The hormones produced by the pituitary gland and other glands have a significant impact on bodily functions, such as growth, reproduction, blood pressure, and metabolism.

Growth hormone is also a protein produced by the pituitary gland. it's job is to stimulate normal growth of bones and tissues.

If the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus, the part of the brain it is attached to, is malformed or damaged, it may mean that the pituitary gland can’t produce some or all of its hormones.  

This is a condition called hypopituitary.

It may be caused by a genetic condition that affects the development of either the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus, tumours, surgery, radiation to the head, a head injury or an infection.


The symptoms of hypopituitarism will vary depending on which hormones are lacking and the age at which it is damaged.

Symptoms in newborns include: 

Older infants and children may have these symptoms:

Most adults who have GH deficiency don't have any symptoms, but for some adults it can cause:

In adults, a lack of hormones can:

In women, cause irregular or stopped menstrual periods and infertility.

In men, cause loss of body and facial hair, weakness, lack of interest in sexual activity, erectile dysfunction, and infertility.



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