Definition An eating disorder characterised by the craving for and consumption of unusual foods or other substances with no known nutritional value. The disorder is “classically” associated with iron-deficiency anaemia. The substance(s) ingested may aggravate iron deficiency, as in geophagy, where the clay eaten acts as a ferro-chelator.
Substances ingested Clay, paint, laundry starch, ice–pagophagia, newspaper
Underlying conditions Iron, zinc, copper and vitamin deficiencies
Associations Various medical conditions, pregnancy, mental disorders
Pica is a genus of magpies, birds famed for their omnivorous nature; like the magpie, a person or animal with pica craves or eats anything, often indigestibles and non-comestibles. Some cases may be directly explained by the effect of the ingestant–e.g., coffee grounds–caffeine and cigarette butts–nicotine
The image is that of over 1000 metal objects fished out of the stomach of picapatient on display at the Glore psychiatric museum in Saint Joseph, Missouri