Melamine contaminated Infant Formula leads to Urinary Tract Stones
It was in recent news that infant formula shipped out of China was deliberately contaminated with melamine. The apparent reason being melamine (nitrogen content as high as 60%) artificially increases the protein content of the infant formula. Around 20 brands of infant formula manufactured in China were reported to have had high melamine content. Investigation into an epidemic of urinary stones in infants lead researchers to pinpoint melamine as the most probable culprit.
Recently in a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, it was found that melamine exposure increases the incidence of urinary tract stones by 7 times in children. It was also reported that preterm infants are more susceptible to the adverse effects of melamine and they were 4.5 times more likely to have stones when compared to term infants.
Stones formed due to melamine exposure cause very few symptoms. Hence it is recommended that all infants who were exposed to melamine contaminated infant formula should be screened for urinary stones regardless of the presence or absence of symptoms.
Reference: New England Journal of Medicine, March 2009 edition. For more information, visit New England Journal of Medicine (www.nejm.org)