Twenty-one-year-old Lizzie Velasquez is 5'2" and weighs just 56 pounds, but she's not anorexic. She eats every minutes and consumes between 5,000 and 8,000 calories daily. Doctors, however, don't know what's causing her not to gain weight.
They ruled out the genetic disorder De Barsy syndrome because she doesn't have any learning difficulties. She's since enrolled in a genetic study run by Professor Abhimanyu Garg, MD, at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
Professor Garg and his team now believe Lizzie may have a form of Neonatal Progeroid Syndrome (NPS) which causes accelerated aging, fat loss from the face and body, and tissue degeneration. People with PRS often have triangular and prematurely aged faces with a pointy nose. He said: "I am aware of a small number of people that have similar conditions to Lizzie but each case is slightly different. We cannot predict what will happen to Lizzie in the future as the medical community are yet to document older people with NPS. However Lizzie is lucky to have healthy teeth, organs and bones so the outlook is good. We will continue to study her case and learn from her."Lizzie, who lives in Austin, Texas and wears size triple zero clothes, says "I weigh myself regularly and if I gain even one pound I get really excited. I eat every 15-20 minutes to keep my energy levels up. I eat small portions of crisps, sweets, chocolate, pizza, chicken, cake, doughnuts, ice cream, noodles and pop tarts all day long, so I get pretty upset when people accuse me of being anorexic....I'm happy the way I am and this syndrome has made me the person I am."
She has written a book about her experiences. It will be out this September.