13yr-old UK schoolgirl hit by dementia

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London, September 12 (ANI): She is just 13 years old, but displays the same symptoms as a 70-year-old suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

Stuck down by the early onset of dementia at this tender age, Isobel Jeffery can no longer feed or dress herself or walk or talk properly.

The little schoolgirl, Exeter, Devon, has lost the ability to concentrate or hold a conversation.

She suffers memory loss, nightmares, hallucinations, and becomes easily confused.

However, still, her parents describe her as a "rare cookie" with a "wicked sense of humour and enthusiasm about life".

They have revealed that Isobel was diagnosed with early-onset dementia when she was nine, after she had begun to slur words, and display the same problems as people eight times her age.

She was losing the ability to swallow and was unsteady on her feet at the time, they say.

Isobel now needs 24-hour care as she is unable to carry out even simple tasks, and will never develop the basic day-to-day skills to look after herself.

Her mother and full-time carer Nicola, 39, has revealed that her little daughter has lost understanding of the world around her as her mind has gradually shut down.

"When Isobel was nine she suddenly started slurring her words and was less clear in her talking. It sounded like she was drunk. Now it is a relentless loss of skills and mobility. We don't know why it is happening. Izzie effectively has Alzheimer's although she is only 13," the Daily Express quoted her as saying.

She further revealed that extensive tests suggested that Isobel will get gradually worse.

"Despite all this she is one of the most vibrant people I have ever known, with a wicked sense of humour and enthusiasm about life," she said.

Doctors who diagnosed Isobel's condition say that it will rob her of her ability to walk or communicate. They have even given the little girl between 10 and 15 years to live.

"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. But she is a rare cookie and really has made every attempt to live her life," said Isobel's mother Nicola.

Next Wednesday, she sets off on a four-day 370-mile bike ride from London to Paris to raise awareness of her daughter's condition, and help boost funds for research.

Terry Roberts, of the Alzheimer's Society, said: "This is a very sad state of affairs which re-emphasises how important support is for the young person and the carers." (ANI)

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