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Finally, there is a higher prevalence of pica (as a marker of impaired mental development) among patients with SCD who have a complication of stroke when compared with the general population with SCD.

The aims of our study were to determine the prevalence of pica in SCD patients by self report and/or report from caregivers; to assess the age and sex distribution among the pica patients compared with their nonpica counterparts; to compare laboratory values for patients with and without pica; to compare hospitalization rates and number of days in hospital for patients with and without pica; and to study the prevalence of pica among patients with SCD complicated by stroke.

Subsequent zinc supplementation resulted in elimination of pica.

Pica has been specifically described in children with sickle cell disease (SCD).

Although the etiology is poorly understood, associations have been described with iron deficiency, zinc deficiency, mental and developmental delay, psychosocial problems, and family history of pica.

For this reason, the 26 patients in this category during the study period were analyzed as a separate group.Within age groups, patients with pica weighed significantly less.Pica appeared to have an unusually high prevalence in patients with sickle cell disease and a correlation with lower Hb levels.First, pica occurs in children with SCD at an unusually high prevalence and at an older age than has been previously described in other populations.Second, pica is an indicator of disease severity, reflected by the number of hospitalizations and days spent in the hospital.

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Among the many groups experiencing pica are pregnant women; in 1 study, 56% of the women surveyed reported regular ingestion of dirt (geophagia).