Thursday, October 25, 2007


Pica, an eating disorder in which sufferers feel compelled to eat nonfood items, is usually seen in children. At least 10% of kids enjoy eating dirt or paste or plaster, but adults suffering from pica often develop unusual tastes.

Strangely, the same such cravings pop up so often they have their own names. Pagophagia is the compulsive eating of ice; coprophagia describes eating (often animal) feces; coniophagia involves - get this - the pathological consumption of dust from Venetian blinds.

And pica can be fatal. Too much plaster might lead to fatal lead poisoning, for instance, and consuming clay can lead to a potentially deadly intestinal blockage. (Image: Baobao, an 18-year-old Mongolian girl eating dirt)

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