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See 1 citation in West Indian Med J 1990:

West Indian Med J. 1990 Mar;39(1):20-6.

Childhood pica. Some aspects of the clinical profile in Manchester, Jamaica.

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Mandeville Public General Hospital, Jamaica.


The clinical profile of 108 children aged 1 1/2 years to 10 years who practised pica was compared to that of 50 non-pica patients aged 2 years to 10 years. Of the patients with pica, 85% were less than 5 years of age and 29% were aged 1 1/2 years to 2 years. The male to female ratio was 1:1.4. Ninety-two patients ingested dirt, 35 marl, 33 stone, 17 coal and 10 ashes. Twenty-two patients ingested multiple substances. Family history for pica was positive in 44 patients. Forty-six per cent of pica patients and 12% control patients had poor nutritional status (p less than 0.05). Ten per cent of pica patients were constipated while 26% had persistent diarrhoea. Intestinal parasites were identified in 70.3% of cases and were distributed as follows: Trichuris species 66%, Ascaris lumbricoides 26.6%, Giardia lamblia 17%, and mixed infestations 28.8%. Initial haemoglobin values were less than 8 gm/dl in 34.8% and 11 gm/dl or greater in 20.9% of pica patients compared with 12% and 56%, respectively, in control patients (p less than 0.05) It is concluded that, in our country, the children who practise pica are prone to malnutrition, anaemia, diarrhoea/constipation and worm infestation. Geophagia is most frequently involved and there is often a family history of pica.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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