May 7, 2014

Building BlocksThe Child Health Theme Issue

Author Affiliations
  • 1Deputy Editor, JAMA

Copyright 2014 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA. 2014;311(17):1740-1741. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.4174

Blocks may be the ideal toy to represent childhood—alphabet blocks to spell words, wooden blocks to stack into tall towers, or plastic pieces to create grand imaginary structures. As evidence, in 2003, alphabet blocks were inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame.1 Blocks have a literal role in medicine as part of the kit for the Denver Developmental Screening Test used by pediatricians, but they also have a prominent metaphorical role—amino acids as the building blocks of proteins, fatty acids as the building blocks of lipids, nucleotides as the building blocks of DNA.

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