JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Is Pica under-reported in children with sickle cell disease? A pilot study in a Belgian cohort.

BACKGROUND: For centuries, writers have recorded their observations on pica. Nevertheless the association of pica with sickle cell disease (SCD) was poorly documented.

METHODS: Cross-sectional evaluation performed on SCD children and caregivers attending the outpatient clinic who were invited to complete questionnaires assessing behavior of pica.

RESULTS: Out of 55 sickle cell children, 31(56.4%) reported practicing pica regularly. Substances ingested by patients covered a broad spectrum. Compared with the non-pica group, subjects who reported pica were younger and had lower hemoglobin (8.3 g/dl (7.6-9.7) vs. 9.1 g/dl (7.9-10.5): P < 0.01). The level of ferritin, zinc, copper, and lead was similar between the pica and non-pica groups (P > 0.05). Discussion In this series, there are many substances consumed by SCD children and adolescents, and we did not find an occurrence of similar substances among this select group. Pica children were younger and more anemic than non-pica patients.

CONCLUSION: This study suggests that pica remains an unknown and under-reported clinical problem in children with SCD and seems to be related to the severity of anemia. The next step of this project aims to clarify causal mechanisms for pica and its association with SCD in a larger population.

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