ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Ginkgo No Shield Against Alzheimer's
Holistic Treatment for Candida Infection
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Heart Failure Raises Risk of Fractures
Human Ancestors Put Best Foot Forward 1.5M Years Ago
Many Americans Fall Short on Their Vitamin D
CANCER
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
Adding Garlic Might Cut Cancer Risk
Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
CAREGIVING
With Age Comes Greater Risk of Hypothermia
Children's Bath Products Contain Contaminants
Many Hospital Patients Can't ID Their Doctors
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
Holistic Dentistry-My View
DIABETES
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Many Kids Don't Need the Vitamins They're Taking
Mediterranean Diet Enriched With Nuts Cuts Heart Risks
Adults Need To Get Thier Food Facts Straight
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Household Chemicals May Affect Cholesterol Levels
Home Renovations by Affluent Families Can Unleash Lead Threat
City Kids Find the Breathin' Is Easier Elsewhere
EYE CARE, VISION
Protein Might One Day Prevent Blindness
Unconscious Learning: In the Eye of the Beholder?
Sports Eye Injuries Leading Cause of Blindness in Youths
FITNESS
Antioxidants Blunt Exercise Benefit, Study Shows
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Obese People Seem to Do Better With Heart Disease
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Decline of Underweight Children in U.S. Continue to Fall
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Standard IQ Test May Underestimate People With Autism
MEN'S HEALTH
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
MENTAL HEALTH
Positive Brain Changes Seen After Body-Mind Meditation
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
Chocolate a Sweet Pick-Me-Up for the Depressed
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
SENIORS
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
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Tainted China Formula Caused High Rate of Kidney Stones in Kids

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 4 (HealthDay News) -- The melamine-tainted infant formula in China that sickened more than 50,000 kids last fall resulted in more than 10 percent of the youngest ones developing kidney problems, according to just-released Beijing research on the scandal.

About 20 percent of melamine-exposed infants in Taiwan and 10 percent of those who drank the formula in Beijing ended up getting kidney stones. And children born prematurely had an even greater risk, concluded the authors of a study released online Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine and scheduled to appear in the journal's March 12 print issue.

"We've had reports of roughly the number of children affected, but this is the first report that is more systematically looking at the ramifications of the exposure in kids," said Dr. Michael Somers, a pediatric nephrologist with Children's Hospital Boston and a spokesman for the American Society of Pediatric Nephrology. "This is from the hospital in Beijing, which is their equivalent of a big academic hospital with very good pediatric nephrology."

The children involved in the study all survived and are basically thriving after their encounter with melamine-contaminated formula, said Dr. Craig B. Langman, author of an accompanying editorial and a kidney diseases professor at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago.

Less is known about the children who fared poorly. And their future remains unclear, Langman said in his editorial.

Much more study needs to be done, he wrote, "before we know whether apparently thriving children have a major ongoing health risk from previous melamine exposure through their infant formula."

Melamine is an industrial chemical found in plastics and other products. It was added to infant formula and other foods in mainland China to boost the protein content and help the products pass muster on food-quality tests.

Since September, such melamine-contaminated baby formula sickened more than 54,000 children and is being blamed for at least four deaths in Asia.

The chemical has turned up in dairy products sold across Asia and, to a lesser extent, in Europe and in the United States.

U.S. health officials decreed in early October that no amount of melamine was safe in infant formula and later set a threshold of 1 part per million (ppm), provided that cyanuric acid, a chemical relative, was not also present. For all other foods, only amounts less than 2.5 ppm are considered risk-free.

Many U.S. consumers first became aware of melamine contamination in 2007, when tainted pet food from China killed more than 4,000 dogs and cats in the United States.

For the latest study, the parents of 589 children 36 months of age or younger who were being screened for melamine exposure and for urinary tract or kidney stones filled out questionnaires about their children's condition and symptoms. The researchers, from Peking University First Hospital in Beijing, also performed various lab tests.

They found that about 9.9 percent of Chinese children who had ingested the tainted products developed kidney stones. In Taiwan, close to 20 percent developed stones. In Hong Kong, only one child exposed to melamine was reported to have developed kidney stones.

Children who had been exposed to high-melamine-content formula (more than 500 ppm) were seven times more likely to develop kidney stones than were those exposed to non-contaminated formula, the study found.

Infants born prematurely were 4.5 times more likely to develop the stones than babies born at term.

"These children were asymptomatic and had no laboratory abnormalities that we normally would associate with kidney stone disease," said Dr. Prasad Devarajan, director of nephrology and hypertension at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. "The big problem we think about in kidney stones is obstructions, and that was very rare. And even those who had obstruction were asymptomatic."

"We don't know what's going to happen down the line, but it's clear that the problem has been identified by the Chinese government, and they have taken the right steps to control it," Devarajan added. "I don't anticipate this to be an ongoing problem. Clinicians should be aware of the problem but should not panic."

And the message for Americans who have adopted Chinese children is, in essence, not to worry.

"In healthy, thriving kids in the U.S. who are of Chinese ancestry and may have lived in China in [the affected] provinces during 2007 and 2008, I would not do anything," Langman said. "This should not make people who've adopted Chinese infants panic."

-Amanda Gardner

More information

The American Society of Pediatric Nephrology has more information on melamine.



SOURCES: Michael Somers, M.D., pediatric nephrologist, Children's Hospital Boston, and spokesman, American Society of Pediatric Nephrology; Prasad Devarajan, M.D., director, division of nephrology and hypertension, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati; Craig B. Langman, M.D., Isaac A. Abt M.D. professor of kidney diseases, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, and head, kidney diseases, Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago; March 12, 2009, New England Journal of Medicine

Last Updated: Feb. 04, 2009

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