People Eating Sofas Or A Plane! What Is Pick's Disease?
Probably every person has their favorite food. Some people delight in oriental cuisine, others have a weakness for sweets, and still, others cannot imagine life without fast food. And if we tell you that there is also a group of people who derive pleasure from eating things that are considered inedible. And we're talking about things like screws, light bulbs, and soil. Though imagine that there have been those who have literally eaten a car and even an airplane. You're probably wondering how this is possible? Who are the people with such unusual culinary tastes? Where does the need to eat things that are not fit for consumption come from? What consequences does it have on health? Read on to find out.
In 2019, a movie with the intriguing title Swallow was shown in theaters. It tells the story of a beautiful woman, named Hunter, who lives in a seemingly happy relationship. Her husband is a handsome businessman, thanks to him she is surrounded by wealth and has just found out that she is pregnant. Although she tells everyone and herself that she couldn't dream of a better life, the truth is somewhat different. Her beautiful house is like a golden cage where she usually stays alone, her husband doesn't pay much attention to her, and her in-laws are constantly controlling. Her days are monotonous. She spends them cooking, cleaning, or playing on her smartphone, until one day she decides to do something unexpected. She swallows a glass ball found in a box of trinkets, which brings her unexpected satisfaction. It is also an impulse to eat more inedible things.
Not Just A Movie
As it turns out, such situations happen not only in movies. In real life, people swallow various objects, often dangerous to their health, all because of a condition called Pick’s Disease syndrome or Frontotemporal dementia. This serious condition, which is considered to be a mental disorder, manifests itself in an extraordinary appetite for things like paper, objects made of iron, stones, glass, earth, and the list of unusual things eaten is really long. People affected by it explain their behavior in various ways. They say, for example, that they are attracted by the texture of the things they eat or they are convinced that thanks to them they provide the necessary ingredients for the body, e.g. they eat earth because it contains microelements.
Causes For The Disease?
Scientists have proven that the disease is 50% due to deficiency of certain elements in the body, especially iron. It is most common in children or pregnant women, although it does affect men either. It is an extremely rare disorder, and most people who suffer from it try to keep it a secret. Although there are also cases of people with Pick’s disease who literally flaunt it and even treat it as normal eating. This is probably why they make it to the headlines and their unbridled appetite contributes to a lot of fame. You would think this is impossible, and yet it is. And now we will tell you about some such cases and go from the least to the most extreme.
Florida Native With A Taste For Foam
A Florida native, Adele Edwards especially developed a taste for foam, which can be found in couches, chairs, or pillows. As she recalls, her illness appeared when she was under a lot of stress due to her parents' divorce. Since then she has been systematically biting into sofas in her house and has eaten 7 of them. Doctors warned her that such amounts of foam could lead to blockage of the stomach or intestines, which also happened, as 3 years ago a ball of foam the size of a grapefruit led to such blockage. Fortunately, surgery was avoided as it was removed with medication. Did Mrs. Edwards give up her strange eating habits after this incident? Unfortunately, we could not find any information on this.
Magician Eating It All
So let's go further. A gentleman by the name of Todd Robbins is a showman and magician who can shock crowds by eating various unusual things during his performances. He has swallowed swords, and breathed fire, although to this day he is known for another disturbing feat which is eating light bulbs. First, he lights the bulb to show the audience that it is real, then he takes out the metal part and after a while, he munches the glass part like an apple. Hard to imagine, isn't it? And even more so, that he ate as many as 5,000 of them in his life. But this is still nothing compared to our next hero.
Man Ate A Car
In the 1970s Leon Samson worked in an Australian circus where he would bite nails in two or break boulders with his head. The topic of the article, however, is eating unusual things. So what did Mr. Samson eat? Well, he decided to eat a car, not only to satisfy his appetite but also to win 20 thousand dollars. All because of a bet he made with one of his friends. The said car, of course, was not consumed in a single evening. It took 4 years, and every part of the vehicle - tires, engine, doors, windows, seats, or radio - disappeared down the man's throat. Mr. Samson divided them into small pieces, some not even bigger than a grain of sand, then added them to his dishes, such as soup or mashed potatoes. This made him money, but it also made him quite famous. It was this that made him blush even more and was about to eat a school bus. Although ultimately there is no information as to whether he actually did this.
Someone Ate A Whole Plane?
For our next hero, even the bus was too small. After all, Mr. Michel Lotito, a native of France, decided to eat the entire plane. You read that right! But before he did that, he had already indulged himself in other things. In his case, it all started when he was 9 years old, it was then that after drinking a drink from a glass bottle he decided to consume it as well. After the incident, his parents took him to a doctor as soon as possible and the doctor stated that the glass did not do any damage to his body. All this was due to the special structure of his digestive tract, which was much more resistant than that of the average person. This was indirectly connected with his Pick’s disease, which made the walls of his stomach and intestines much thicker. So he could afford to eat inedible things.
He quickly earned the nickname Mister Eat-All, or Mr. Who Eats Everything and began traveling the world showcasing his exploits. Their list may be impressive to some and rather alarming to others. It included 18 bicycles, 7 televisions, 2 beds, 15 supermarket carts, and 6 chandeliers. Although particularly shocking is his meal consisting of an airplane, to be precise a not very large Cessna 152 model. Over the course of two years, he chewed and swallowed every piece of it. To do this he divided it into smaller pieces, and in the process made sure his digestive tract was well lubricated with oil, but obviously not engine oil. It will probably come as no surprise to anyone that his feat earned him an entry in the Guinness Book of Records as the only person in the world to eat an airplane. But how did it affect his health? There are no reports that his health was adversely affected or contributed to any side effects of consuming such things. And Mr. Lotito died of natural causes in 2007.
Eating Those Things Is Not Advisable
Despite the rather humorous approach to these stories, we would strongly advise against emulating our heroes of today. Although a small percentage of people affected by pica syndrome have an extremely resilient digestive tract, in most extreme cases, however, it carries serious health consequences.
Side Effects Of Eating Those Things
These include gastric ulcers, poisoning, gastrointestinal obstruction, and internal injuries, and they can also lead to death. As an example, we will cite a story that happened in 2002, when a 62-year-old Frenchman was hospitalized because of still recurring stomach pains. After an x-ray, it was revealed that he was filled with coins that had been swallowed systematically for 10 years. Most shockingly there were several kilograms of them, and the operation to remove them ended very unhappily for this gentleman. A similar ending was the story of a man named Edward Cope in whom complications after swallowing various objects, such as foam rubber, pieces of chain, or bones, resulted in a fatal outcome.
Can They Be Digested?
If, on the other hand, the question has crossed your mind whether it is possible to actually eat and digest most inedible objects, such as pieces of metal? Then the answer is no. Rather, they are simply passed through the digestive tract unchanged.
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