A medical resident in El Salvador’s suspicion that “normal” was anything but has led to what researchers believe to be an epidemic of heat-related kidney disease, one that kills thousands of people each year, and one that climate change could make far more lethal. University of Colorado School of Medicine researchers have played a key role in turning a young doctor’s hunch into a global research effort to understand and address the disease.
Richard Johnson, MD
, who chairs the CU Department of Nephrology, is at the hub of the effort, which recently produced a paper
that found evidence of heat-stress-related chronic kidney disease (CKD) manifesting in Central America, Southeast Asia, India and elsewhere. If Johnson and colleagues are right, their findings mark a watershed moment in our understanding of the health impacts of climate change.