Entries in Good Morning America (2)


Rare Condition Drives Girl to Eat Light Bulb

Natalie Hayhurst suffers from a rare condition called Pica that creates a never-ending compulsion to eat things that aren't food. (Courtesy The Hayhurst Family)(TERRA HAUTE, Ind.) -- Natalie Hayhurst looks like your average adorable 3-year-old. She plays with makeup, loves Justin Bieber, and loves playing with her big brother on their farm outside Terre Haute, Ind.  But when it comes to food, she's anything but average. Most kids her age are a little picky. Natalie likes everything -- literally.

"Well, I first noticed it was a problem...[when] she had actually eaten my vinyl blinds that hang out to cover your sliding door. She took two bites out of them," said Natalie's mother, Colleen Hayhurst.

Natalie suffers from a rare condition called Pica that creates a compulsion to eat things that aren't food.

"She prefers the wood, paper products, cardboard, sticks," said Colleen. "She'll eat rocks, dirt; she's had a bite out of a Diet Coke can; she's eaten the little magnet out of the shower curtain, plastic bottles, toys."

"You can't take your eye off of her, 'cause if you do she knows it, and she'll try to eat something when she knows you're not looking," said Colleen.

In February Natalie was rushed to the emergency room after eating a light bulb.

"She had moved her entertainment center and pulled the light bulb out of the night light while I was doing dishes," Colleen said. "She was in bed; I assumed she was asleep. She had eaten all the glass. I was pretty much hysterical."

Doctors performed surgery to help remove the glass.

When Colleen took Natalie to the pediatrician for a checkup and explained what was going on, the doctor, Dr. Lily Dela Cruz, knew this was something that went beyond typical toddler behavior. She referred them to a developmental behavioral specialist.

Although Pica is more common in young children -- more than 10 percent of kids aged 1 to 6 are believed to have some form of the disorder -- adults are not immune.

Pica is the Latin word for magpie, a bird that will eat anything. Doctors say these unusual cravings can be triggered by a lack of certain nutrients like iron or zinc. Some with Pica crave the texture of some materials in their mouths.

In the case of Natalie, who has a healthy appetite for regular food, Pica is thought to be psychological. Pica is a symptom of autism, but Natalie has not been tested for the condition. She does suffer from insomnia and ADHD. As she gets older, she understands more what she is doing is wrong, but she can't seem to help herself.

In addition to working with a therapist to curb her cravings, at home Colleen sprays Natalie's tongue with a sour spray that helps satisfy her constant need to put things in her mouth. Natalie also chews on biting sticks. And she has what her family calls her Pica Box full of textured toys that stimulate her senses.

Colleen is reaching out to help other mothers and their children in this predicament.

"There are nights I have cried myself to sleep, because you feel helpless," Colleen said. "My kids are my world...and I care about helping other people who are in the same boat as me."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Apple Juice Showdown: Dr. Oz Arsenic Claim Questioned

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- In a spirited showdown on Good Morning America Thursday, ABC News senior health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser confronted television's Dr. Mehmet Oz on what he called “extremely irresponsible” statements made on The Dr. Oz Show Wednesday concerning arsenic in apple juice.

“Mehmet, I’m very upset about this, I think that this was extremely irresponsible,” Besser said.  “It reminds me of yelling fire in a movie theater.”

“I’m not fear-mongering,” Oz fired back.  “We did our homework on this risk.”

Oz’s appearance on GMA is the latest development in a story that likely has many parents on edge about whether to continue serving apple juice to their children.

[Scroll down to watch Dr. Oz's appearance on ABC's Good Morning America.]

Oz and the show’s producers drew criticism for Wednesday’s episode of The Dr. Oz Show, which focused on the dangers of trace levels of arsenic present in many popular brands of apple juice.  Juice manufacturers, government regulators and scientists said the results of what the program called its “extensive national investigation” were misleading and needlessly frightening to consumers.

According to The Dr. Oz Show, a laboratory tested “three dozen samples from five different brands of apple juice across three American cities” and compared the levels of arsenic to the limits of arsenic for drinking water set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  They found 10 samples of juice with arsenic levels higher than the limits for water.

In a statement, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said, “There is no evidence of any public health risk from drinking these juices.”

The FDA sent a letter to The Dr. Oz Show on Sept. 9 -- five days before the show was to air -- which warned that airing the show would be “irresponsible” and “misleading” because the testing ignored that there are two forms of arsenic: organic and inorganic.  Organic is generally thought not to be harmful to health, whereas inorganic is.

The FDA also conducted its own tests of the apple juice investigated by The Dr. Oz Show.  In some of the very same lots of juice tested for the show, the FDA reported finding very low levels of inorganic arsenic; six parts per billion at most, even lower than the 10 parts per billion recommended by the EPA as a safe level for drinking water.

Oz acknowledged that “no children are dying from acute lethal arsenic poisoning,” stating instead that his concerns were about the long-term effect of arsenic exposure.  Still, Besser said Oz was implying to parents that drinking apple juice poses a risk to kids’ health.

“You have informed parents they are poisoning their children,” he said, a charge that Oz denied.

“We just want to have the conversation, and we’ve been trying to make this conversation happen,” Oz said.

Oz also added, “I would not take apple juice out of my kids’ containers now.

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Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio