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Child Struck With Mystery Illness Shows Signs of Recovering

It is a mother’s prayers answered. Five years back Timothy Bingham was struck down by a mysterious illness so rare that doctors named// it after him- the Bingham syndrome.

The boy then aged 5, was struck down by a series of flu like attacks, which rendered him totally paralyzed. It left him in a special wheelchair and unable to communicate except with his blinks of his eyes.

Yet light has finally broken through as doctors at the Great Ormond Street children’s hospital have discovered something surprisingly simple- the boy is suffering from a deficiency of a vitamin that protects his nervous system.

The vitamin in question is the amino acid l-serine.

Since taking three amino acid l-serine tablets a day, Timothy has managed to lift up his head and walk a few steps with support. He has also begun to move his toes, raising hopes that he might be able to walk to school and play with friends.

Says his mother Kate Bingham: "You need to hope that there may be somebody out there who finds the miracle you've been searching for. I have never lost hope. We do not know whether this will be a cure but we're keeping everything crossed that this is."

Timothy was referred to Professor Peter Clayton, of the metabolic department at Great Ormond Street, who decided vitamin deficiency might be the problem.

The boy supposedly produces only small amounts of l-serine, and stops doing so altogether, when he eats less during an illness.

L-serine is an amino acid found in proteins and helps impulses pass clearly through the nervous system.

Specialists had apparently thought Timmy was suffering from Guillain-Barre Syndrome, where the body's immune system attacks part of the nervous system. But after running dozens of tests they could not prove it, hence they named the mystery condition Bingham Syndrome.

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