Definition of Pica : Definition of Pica This eating disorder involves repeated or chronic ingestion of non-nutritive substances, which may include plaster, charcoal, clay, wool, ashes, paint, and earth .
Pica (cont.) : Pica (cont.) Although tasting or mouthing of objects is normal in infants and toddlers, pica after the 2nd yr of life needs investigation
predisposing factors : predisposing factors Mental retardation and lack of parental nurturing (psychologic and nutritional) are predisposing factors
Pica appears to be more common in children with autism and other brain-behavior disorders such as Kleine-Levin syndrome
Persistent pica : Persistent pica Is often associated with :
* Family disorganization
* Poor supervision
* Psychologic neglect
Pica appears to be more prevalent in the lower socioeconomic classes
Geophagia : Geophagia Pica usually remits in childhood but can continue into adolescence and adulthood.
In particular, geophagia (eating of earth) is associated with pregnancy and is not seen as abnormal in some cultures
Risks : Risks Children with pica are at an increased risk for:
* Lead poisoning
* Iron-deficiency anemia
* Parasitic infections
Screening : Screening for
* lead intoxication
* iron-deficiency anemia
* parasitic infestation
is always indicated.
References : References Rose EA, Porcerelli JH, Neale AV: Pica: Common but commonly missed. Journal of the American Board of Family Practice 2000;13:353. Medline Similar articles
Markowitz ME: Lead poisoning. Pediatr Review 2000;21:327-35.