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Originally published December 22 2009

Our Toxic World: Nine-Year-Old Girl Diagnosed With Dementia

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) A 13-year-old girl living in the United Kingdom has been suffering from early-onset dementia since the age of nine, according to British news reports.

Dementia refers to a cluster of roughly 100 different incurable diseases in which the brain's cognitive functioning progressively deteriorates. The most common form is Alzheimer's disease. Most dementia affects people over the age of 65, but early onset forms are becoming more common. One in twelve million children worldwide suffer from some form of dementia.

Isobel Jeffery began to slur words when she was nine years old, quickly developing a set of symptoms more typical or a person in their seventies. Unlike other forms of the dementia, the unknown form that Jeffery suffers from affects every aspect of her development. In addition to suffering from problems with memory and speech, Jeffery can no longer carry out a simple conversation and becomes confused easily. She needs 24-hour care because she is unable to feed or dress herself, or even walk on her own.

"Two years ago we took the painful decision to have an operation to enable her to be tube fed directly into her stomach because she was no longer able to swallow enough," said Jeffery's mother Nicola.

Jeffery's sensory processing and learning are severely impaired. She also hallucinates and suffers from chronic nightmares.

"I have to stay in Izzie's room every night; her sleep is very disturbed," her mother said. "She gets very frightened and has hallucinations. I literally have no time to myself, she is awake until I go to bed and then wakes several times during the night. She gets confused and doesn't know what time of day it is."

Complicating Jeffery's situation is the fact that she also suffers from epilepsy and a weak immune system.

Although doctors have been unable to identify any other cases of the form of dementia that Jeffery suffers from, it resembles Niemann-Pick type C disease, which affects 500 children worldwide.

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