A 19-year-old boy from the southwestern English city of Bristol became wholly blind and hearing impaired two years ago because he ate chips, crisps, fried sausages, and white bread for at least ten years. According to doctors, he has fallen victim to an extremely one-sided diet that caused him to develop a severe deficiency of substances such as vitamin B12 and selenium. Due to the chronic lack of this, irreparably damaged occurred on crucial nerves in the eyes and ears.
Jake, as the boy’s name, and his mother Angie, have extensively explained their shocking story in British media such as The Sun, Daily Mail and The Times. According to the mother, her son has been a “troublesome eater” since childhood. “He hates certain foods because the texture of them doesn’t feel comfortable in his mouth.”
She repeatedly approached dieticians and doctors, but no one managed to persuade Jake to change his eating habits. “My husband and I couldn’t do it either. In spite of our sometimes harsh words, he stuck to his one-sided and, as it turns out, life-threatening menu.”
The mother always gave her son fruit and vegetables to school. “Then he took it with him with the promise that he would eat it all. We took his word for it. However, he secretly threw it away and preferred unhealthy canteen food.” Five years ago, the first symptoms of what is called neuropathy (nerve damage) began to emerge. Vitamin injections to address the substance deficiency, however, were of no use. When Jake was 17, doctors said he was mostly blind and almost deaf. “Our son has already been completely rejected.”
Angie makes an urgent appeal to all parents of young children to continue to pay ‘serious attention’ to the eating behavior of their offspring. “Our Jake looks normal at first sight, but under the skin of his eyes was a real assassin who destroyed his young body. The doctors at the Eye Hospital in Bristol where Jake is under control say there’s nothing more they can do for him. It is the way it is, doctors say. Your son became handicapped by his remarkable diet.”
Jake’s parents don’t feel utterly guilty because they did “really anything” to make their son eat normally. “It’s in his head because our other two children eat just about everything and very healthy.” Jake himself says he “unfortunately has to learn to live with the limitations he caused himself.” “By the time I noticed that I was going backward, it was too late.” The boy remembers when it went wrong. “I began to get tired, but never realized that a lack of certain substances caused this.”
Annals of Internal Medicine
Jake has dropped out of school and is only in his room at home. His parents say he eats healthier than ever. Jake’s condition is described in the Annals of Internal Medicine: an authoritative international medical journal. In it, the boy is called ‘an exceptional example’ of how things can go wrong with children who eat poorly. “Jake’s symptoms usually occur only in children in the third world and also in heavy smokers, drinkers and drug users,” according to the publication. “Jake is living proof of how important it is to eat enough fruit and vegetables.”