Hotter Climate, More Kidney Stones

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Updated: 7/14 1:00 am

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 temperatures.

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."

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