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Girl, 9, who has to live on fast food as she needs a high-fat diet just to stay alive
Amy consumes huge portions of pizza, double cream and olive oilHer rare condition means her brain is starved on energy on a normal diet
16:11 GMT, 21 June 2012
A schoolgirl has to eat olive oil with everything – otherwise she could suffer from life-threatening seizures.
Light-weight Amy Paterson, nine, has a rare, incurable genetic condition, which means her brain can't receive enough nourishment from a normal diet.
As a result she must consume three times as much fat as her friends and drink as much olive oil in one meal as an adult would consume in a day.
Amy manages to attend school and live a
normal life, but her devoted mum Michelle and dad Allan, both 44, have
to closely monitor her 1,482 calorie, six meal-a-day diet.
Amy Paterson has a diet rich in double cream and fat and is pictured with some of her usual daily fare
There are only 25 people diagnosed with the condition, known as 'glut1 deficiency syndrome', in the UK, with 100 sufferers in the world.
Mrs Paterson said: 'Feeding Amy is the complete opposite of feeding a normal child.
'Parents are constantly being told to cut down their child’s diet to reduce the amount of fat.
'But for Amy that’s exactly what she needs because it’s the fat that’s feeding her brain.
'She’s a thin little thing too, she weighs the same as any other nine year old girl.'
Amy suffered her first seizure at just eight weeks old and endured a second just four months later.
Michelle noticed the seizures hit just as Amy was being fed and that her young daughter was constantly lethargic.
The worried parents, who live in Falkirk, Scotland, took Amy to several doctors, but they were baffled due to the rarity of the condition.
Amy was at first misdiagnosed with ataxic cerebral palsy because of a lack of balance and unexplained tiredness.
Michelle said: 'We kept saying something wasn’t right. Amy suffered her first seizure when she was eight weeks old and then when she was three months old I was feeding her baby food and she had another one, so we knew it had to be something relating to food.
'She was fighting for energy all the time – we didn’t know it was because we were giving her the wrong kind of foods.'
Amy was finally diagnosed at the age of seven following a lumbar puncture at Yorkhill Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow.
The condition, which is caused by a faulty gene passed down from one of her parents, means Amy can’t transport glucose into her brain efficiently, leaving her starved of energy.
Since her diagnosis and high-fat diet Amy has not suffered a single seizure.
Michelle and Allan, whose 13-year-old daughter Rebecca isn’t affected by the condition, have now spoken out to warn other parents.
Allan, who works as an instrument engineer for BP, added: 'Amy has to have three times as much fat in her diet as she does carbohydrates and protein.
'She takes a lot of things like triple cream, oils and fatty meats.
'It’s difficult for her but she handles the condition really well. If one of her school friends offers her some chocolate, which she loves but she can’t have because it contains too much sugar, she says no because she knows she could have a seizure.
'We don’t know why she has been affected by this faulty gene. Our other daughter is perfectly fine.
'We have to be very incredible careful, we have a massive pair of scales in the kitchen because we have to measure everything.
'The problem for doctors at the beginning was, because the condition is so rare, they didn’t know what to look for but since her diagnoses they have been fantastic.
'We have to give Amy extra olive oil with everything. If she has soup we have to top it up with oil, if she has bacon we have to add extra oil, but she seems to be used to it. I tried it once and I couldn’t handle it.
'Amy will probably have to stay on the diet for the rest of her life unless a drug is developed that can manage it.
'We just want other parents to be aware of this condition in case their child has it. Having the right diet really can make a difference.'