Medicine: Hand to Mouth

When a baby is at the stage of putting everything that comes to hand into his mouth, and often trying to swallow it, most parents figure that he will soon grow out of it. What far too few parents realize, according to the findings of a Washington research team, is how often this stage of development, natural up to the age of about 18 months, turns into a prolonged and unnatural craving for substances other than food. Nor do the parents of such children realize their own responsibility for the condition.

Doctors call the disorder pica (rhymes with Micah), from the Latin...

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