ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Naprapathy: A Hands-On Approach to Pain Management
Maggots as Good as Gel in Leg Ulcer Treatments
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Alcohol Abuse Can Damage Bones
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
CANCER
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Smoking Exposure Now Linked to Colon, Breast Cancers
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
CAREGIVING
Older Caregivers Prone to Worse Sleep Patterns
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
Organ Donation Policies Vary Among Children's Hospitals
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Health Tip: After Liposuction
DENTAL, ORAL
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
DIABETES
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
DIET, NUTRITION
Milk Destroys Antioxidant Benefits in Blueberries
Vinegar Might Help Keep Off Pounds
Olive Oil May Be Key to Mediterranean Diet's Benefits
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Warmer-Than-Average Temperatures Raise Migraine Risk
Golf Course Insecticides Pose Little Danger to Players
Meat-Eating Dinosaurs Used Legs and Arms Like Birds
EYE CARE, VISION
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
Thyroid Problems Boost Glaucoma Risk
Music Can Help Restore Stroke Patients' Sight
FITNESS
Simple Steps Get Walkers Moving
Fall Cleanup Is a Prime Time for Accidents
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
Swine Flu May Pose Problems for Pregnant Women
Have Fun But Put Play It Safe on the 4th
Hidden Salt in Diet Haunts Many With Heart Failure
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Obese People Seem to Do Better With Heart Disease
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Dangerous Toys Still on Store Shelves, Report Finds
Fussy Babys Could Be Out Of Your Control
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
MEN'S HEALTH
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
MENTAL HEALTH
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
Positive Brain Changes Seen After Body-Mind Meditation
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
SENIORS
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
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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