WebMD Medical News
Louise Chang, MD
July 14, 2008 -- A warming climate may make kidney stones more likely in the
U.S., say researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas and the University
of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
Here's the gist of their theory: Hotter temperatures mean more fluid loss,
which makes kidney stones more likely.
The scientists analyzed how common kidney stones are in the U.S. and how
much hotter average annual temperatures nationwide are expected to get in the
coming decades, based on an "intermediate" amount of change in those average
After crunching the numbers, Tom Brikowski, PhD, and colleagues predict that
the number of people in the U.S. who develop kidney stones at some point in
their lives will increase by 1.6 million to 2.2. million by 2050, an increase
of up to 30% in some areas.
The climate-related increase in kidney stones will be greatest in the
southern U.S. or in the upper Midwest, Brikowski's team notes in Proceedings
of the National Academy of Sciences.
Climate change will probably also increase kidney stones in other countries,
the researchers predict, calling it "yet another challenge to the task of
adapting to climate change in this century."
SOURCE: Brikowski, T. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
July 15, 2008; vol 105: pp. 9841-9846.
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