A British girl can now look forward to a normal life thanks to doctors who diagnosed her with a rare condition which caused her to begin PUBERTY – aged just SIX MONTHS.
Little Maisie Beatty started displaying the physical traits of adolescence – which included developing breasts – just a few months after birth.
Her parents Linda and Simon, both 37, first noticed something was wrong when they spotted blood as they changed her nappy – which later turned out to be a period.
Just weeks later they were ”mortified” when she started developing breasts at the age of nine months.
Maisie was eventually diagnosed – at the age of two – with McCune-Albright Syndrome, a rare genetic defect which affects a handful of youngsters worldwide.
A hormone imbalance had ‘tricked’ her body into beginning puberty and would have triggered a dangerous growth spurt if doctors had not intervened.
Teaching assistant Linda, of St Neots, Cambs., said: ”It’s such an unusual condition we had no idea what was wrong with her.
”Seeing blood on her nappy was devastating and it really took my breath away. To see that is every parents nightmare.
”But discovering the breasts was the most difficult. I was absolutely mortified.
”I was so shocked I nearly dropped her and dared not think what was happening to my beautiful baby.
”When she was later diagnosed it was like the weight of the world had been lifted from our shoulders, as we finally what was causing the symptoms and could deal with it.”
Maisie, now four, was born six weeks premature at Hemel Hempstead Hospital and spent the first four weeks in special care.
She returned home with Simon, Linda, their son Giacomo, five, and daughter Mollie, 14, and displayed no ill-effects until aged six months when Linda noticed some blood on her nappy whilst changing her.
Linda immediately took her to Hemel Hempstead Hospital in November 2007, when Maisie was diagnosed with thrush and the couple were told it was nothing to worry about.
But the following month the same occurred and the couple were horrified when a doctor insinuated Maisie may be being sexually abused
Linda said: ”The GP insinuated there may be sexual abuse taking place which was the most devastating experience of my life.
”He started asking questions about who we left Maisie with and how she was cared for. It was extremely difficult to deal with as we both knew nothing had taken place.”
Again they returned home and it was not until three months later in January, when Maisie was nine months old, she started to develop breasts.
”I picked her up and it was all I could do to hold onto her when I noticed she had started developing breasts,” added Linda.
”I immediately inspected her and she had developed tiny firm breasts, those you would normally associate with a young teenage girl.
”That was when I knew something was wrong and that something had to be done urgently.”
The following month Maisie underwent a series of blood tests at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Cambs., in a bid to determine what was happening to her body.
And in March 2008, doctors diagnosed her with McCune-Albright Syndrome, which was effectively causing her body to go through puberty as a baby.
The condition causes a hormone imbalance which caused the brain to initiate puberty too early.
Girls are born with full reproductive organs but these only become active when hormonal changes cause the brain to send a signal via the pituitary gland, usually around 12 or 13 years old.
If left to go unchecked Masie would have experienced a sudden growth spurt to 3ft tall before she stopped growing altogether, which could have brought fatal complications when her organs matured to full size.
The condition also causes fibrous dysplasia, which means her bones are porous, leaving them weak and susceptible to fractures.
Simon quit his job as a car dealer and in March 2010 and managed to set up his own successful business, Business Babysitter, answering phone calls and e-mails while business owners are on holiday.
Now aged four, Maisie has enrolled on a clinical trial at Great Ormond Street Hospital which she attends once a month to control her hormones and postpone puberty.
Once she reaches a suitable age, it is thought Maisie, who started Crosshall Infant School last week, will come off the drugs and experience normal teenage development.
Teaching assistant Linda added: ”Thankfully, there are no major long-term effects of the condition.
”Experts have told us she can go on to have children and the length and quality of her life will not be affected.
”She walks with a limp, which we hope will be cleared up with an operation and sometimes struggles to walk up large flights of stairs.
”But otherwise she is a healthy young girl.
”We are so grateful for all the wonderful care Maisie has recieved as, without that, I dread to think what would have happened.
”It’s such an unusual case I don’t blame anyone for missing it early on, but am eternally grateful for all the wonderful support Maisie has received.”