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Study Links Melamine To Kidney Disease in Children

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The New England Journal of Medicine, published a study this week that linked melamine to kidney disease in children. Melamine has been the subject of many blogs here at the Injuryboard. In particular, Steve Lombardi has covered the topic extensively. This study gives the impact to an already alarming issue.

In their study, Dr. Jie Ding, from Peking University First Hospital, and colleagues describe the investigation that ultimately linked melamine exposure to urolithiasis in young children. The study involved a parental survey for 589 children, 36 months of age or younger, who were being screened for melamine exposure and symptoms of urinary tract stones. Standard urinary function tests as well as ultrasonography were also performed.

Children exposed to formulas with high-melamine content (>500 ppm) were 7.0 times more likely to have urinary stones than those given formulas not tainted with melamine. Preterm infants were 4.5-times more likely to have stones than their full-term peers

Overall, 421 children consumed melamine-tainted formula. Fifty children had confirmed stones, including 8 children without melamine exposure, 112 had suspected stones, and 427 had no stones.

Blood and white blood cells were seen in the urine of 5.9 percent and 2.9 percent of children with stones, respectively, which is comparable to the rates seen in children without stones.

Moreover, blood levels of creatinine, urea nitrogen, and alanine aminotransferase were usually normal in the patients with stones. Only 4 of 41 patients with stones had urinary markers suggesting glomerular dysfunction.

This is an issue that we have to keep a very close eye on. We can not allow this product to continue to be used in our food. Hopefully , FDA changes and closer review of international markets will do that.