Formula Milk Not The Cause Of Breast Growth In Babies, Say Chinese Authorities

Aug 15th, 2010 | By healthnews | Category: Health

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Main Category: Pediatrics / Children’s Health
Also Included In: Nutrition / Diet
Article Date: 15 Aug 2010 – 7:00 PDT

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An inquiry into whether infant formula milk might be linked to breast growth in babies found no link, Chinese authorities announced today. The investigation was ordered after some parents in Hubei complained their babies were growing breasts and one 1-year-old girl in Beijing had premature puberty after drinking formula milk made by Synutra International. (Link)

A Ministry of Health spokesman, Deng HaiHua said the investigation found that the hormone levels within the milk powder were within normal standards “(investigators) found nothing abnormal about the amount of hormones contained in milk powder from Synutra and other brands”.

According to Deng, food safety experts from China CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) tested 42 samples of Synutra dairy products and 31 dairy samples from other dairy companies.

One of the samples tested came from the milk residue drunk by one of the babies who had grown breasts – nothing unusual was detect.

The Health Ministry informs that tests revealed no exogenous sex hormones, such as estradiol and prolactin – hormones which stimulate the production of breast milk (lactation). Health care professionals have examined the three babies who had grown breasts and report that their premature developments were “not serious”.

Deng said there were no reports of premature development (premature puberty, precocious puberty) coming in which might indicated a change in statistical incidence.

The current premature development cases should be diagnosed as “minimal puberty”, often seen in baby boys up to 6 months of age and baby girls up to the age of 2 years, said Professor Wu Xueyan, an expert in endocrine research at the Peking Union Medical College Hospital. A “minimal puberty” caused by natural hormone secretion, Wu added.

Wu said:

The three infants did not show premature development of bones or height, and the growth of their breasts was within the normal ranges of minimal puberty.

Wu believes that the recent increases in cases of premature development are due to greater awareness in the Chinese population. More people are seeking medical advice, resulting in more cases being reported.

As the theme is currently in the headlines all over China, Wu believes more parents will be seeking medical advice, resulting in a rise in reported cases over the short term.

During the last few years there has been an increase in the number of reports concerning infant formula or milk powder in China. In 2008 melamine (a colourless crystalline compound used in making synthetic resins; 2,4,6-triamino-1,3,5-triazine. Formula: C3H6N6) was found in milk products produced by 22 different Chinese companies, leading to the illnesses or deaths of at least 300,000 Chinese children. Melamine had been added to alter test results for protein content.

Sources: China Daily, Synutra International, BBC.

Written by Christian Nordqvist

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