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Neonatal Aluminum Exposure May Affect Later Bone Health

Last Updated: October 27, 2009.

Preterm infants who are exposed to parenteral aluminum may have an increased risk of reduced lumbar spine and hip bone mass during adolescence, according to a study in the November issue of Pediatrics.

TUESDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Preterm infants who are exposed to parenteral aluminum may have an increased risk of reduced lumbar spine and hip bone mass during adolescence, according to a study in the November issue of Pediatrics.

Mary S. Fewtrell, M.D., of the University College London Institute of Child Health, and colleagues studied 59 13- to 15-year-olds who were born preterm and randomly assigned to standard or aluminum-depleted parenteral nutrition.

The researchers found that children assigned to standard parenteral nutrition solution had lower lumbar spine bone mineral content, possibly due to a concomitant decrease in bone size. They also found that neonatal exposure to aluminum intakes above the median (55 µg/kg) was associated with a 7.6 percent lower hip bone mineral content, an effect that was independent of bone or body size.

"These findings need confirmation in larger, more detailed studies," the authors conclude. "Nevertheless, given our previous finding of adverse developmental outcome in these individuals and the sizeable number of contemporary infants who undergo intensive neonatal care and are still exposed to aluminum via parenteral feeding solutions, the potential adverse long-term consequences of early aluminum exposure now deserve renewed attention."

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