ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
Birds Don't Miss a Beat
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
Brazilian Mint Tea Naturally Good for Pain Relief
CANCER
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
Immune Therapy May Aid Kids With Neuroblastoma
HPV Vaccine Has Higher Allergic Reaction Rate
CAREGIVING
Babies Born in High Pollen Months at Wheezing Risk
3 Steps Might Help Stop MRSA's Spread
Robots May Come to Aging Boomers' Rescue
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Holistic Dentistry-My View
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
DIABETES
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
DIET, NUTRITION
The Raw Food Diet
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
Vinegar Might Help Keep Off Pounds
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
What's Cookin'? It Could Be Air Pollution
Database Helps Assess Your Breast Cancer Risk
Former Inmates at Increased Risk for High Blood Pressure
EYE CARE, VISION
Music Can Help Restore Stroke Patients' Sight
Stem Cells Repair Damaged Corneas in Mice
Hybrid Cars Pose Risk to Blind, Visually Impaired
FITNESS
Vigorous Treadmill Workout Curbs Appetite Hormones
Marathoners Go the Distance on Heart Health
Football Can Shrink Players
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Brisk Walk Can Help Leave Common Cold Behind
Spot light on Dani Antman New Lionheart teacher
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Arteries Age Twice as Fast in Smokers
Fish Oil Supplements Help With Heart Failure
Small Cuts in Salt Intake Spur Big Drops in Heart Trouble
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Babies Cared For In Others Homes Might Become Heavy Toddlers
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
School Phys. Ed. Injuries Up 150 Percent
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Have a Goal in Life? You Might Live Longer
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
SENIORS
Seniors Cope With Sleep Loss Better Than Young Adults
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Natural Childbirth Moms More Attuned to Babies' Cry
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
Add your Article

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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