18-month-old Chinese girl excretes 21 nails in a month

June 13th, 2010 - 2:01 pm ICT by ANI  

Shaan New Delhi, June 13 (ANI): An 18-month-old Chinese girl is believed to be suffering from Pica - an eating disorder characterized by persistent cravings to eat nonfood items such as dirt or cigarette butts, after she repeatedly excreted nails.

The girl was diagnosed with the disorder after paediatricians from from Xi’an, capital of the northwestern Shaanxi Province, conducted an examination, reports English.news.cn.

“Pica is likely, but we need to carry out further research. It’s very strange where she got all these nails,” professor Gao Ya from the No. 2 Hospital Affiliated to Xi’an Jiaotong University said.

The girl’s mother Liu Xiaoya claimed that they did not find any such nails at home. “Her grandfather said he had some, but didn’t know whether any were missing,” Liu said.

Pica is a severe eating disorder that is often caused by deficiency of zinc, iron or other trace elements. It can result in serious health problems such as lead poisoning or iron-deficiency anemia.

But the blood tests of the girl revealed that her zinc, calcium and magnesium levels were normal, only the iron level being slightly low, Dr. Chen Hongxiong, of the Children’s Hospital of Yulin City said.

The girl excreted 21 nails and a steel pin in the last month, but had no signs of illness. She ate and drank as usual, reports Xinhua.

The girl excreted nails in the hospital as well. Latest X-rays showed she still had a nail and a steel pin in her stomach.

“We need to help her expel these as soon as possible without causing injury,” Chen said. (ANI)

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