ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Maggots as Good as Gel in Leg Ulcer Treatments
Music Therapy For Prehistoric Man?
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Brazilian Mint Tea Naturally Good for Pain Relief
Get in Step With Summer Foot Care
Hip Replacement Boosts Mobility at Any Age
CANCER
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
Multiple Screening Strategy Boosts Cervical Cancer Detection
More Americans Urged to Get Cancer Screenings
CAREGIVING
Reduce Suffering, Urge Heart Failure Patients and Caregivers
Baby's Sleep Position May Not Affect Severity of Head Flattening
UV Lights, Fans May Curb TB Spread in Hospitals
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
DIABETES
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Iced Teas Pose High Risk of Kidney Stones
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
10 Beginner Tips for Fast Weight Loss, the Low-Carb Way!
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Seasons Arriving 2 Days Earlier, Study Says
As Earth Warms, Lyme Disease Could Flourish
U.S. Diet Needs Heart-Felt Overhaul
EYE CARE, VISION
Half of U.S. Adults Lack 20/20 Vision
Impotence Drugs Don't Harm Vision: Study
Diabetic Eye Disease Rates Soaring
FITNESS
Maximize Your Run
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Living With Less TV, More Sweat Boosts Weight Loss
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
Parents Influence Sex Decisions, Hispanic Teens Say
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Lack of Vitamin D Linked to High Blood Pressure
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
Working Intensely Early on May Help Autistic Kids
Plastics Chemical Tied to Aggression in Young Girls
MEN'S HEALTH
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
MENTAL HEALTH
Cinnamon Breaks Up Brain Plaques, May Hold Key to Fighting Alzheimer’s
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
SENIORS
Boost In Elderly Population Will Be Felt Worldwide
High-Impact Activity May Be Good for Old Bones
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
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Global Warming Linked to Heightened Kidney Stone Risk

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, July 14 (HealthDay News) -- Rising temperatures and increased dehydration linked to global warming will boost kidney stone rates in the United States and around the world, new research suggests.

In the United States in particular, hotter weather will lead to a dramatic rise in kidney stone disease among residents of southern states -- the so-called "kidney-stone belt." This will result in an increase of 1.6 million to 2.2 million additional kidney stone cases by 2050, according to the study.

"This is an example of how global warming will affect people directly," said study author Tom Brikowski, an associate professor with a specialty in hydrology in the department of geosciences at the University of Texas at Dallas.

The study authors stressed that the exact degree of the increased risk remains unclear. But, Brikowski added, "We are certain that warming will increase, and that the rate of kidney stone disease will go up. So as a nation, we will have to pay more attention to this problem."

The findings are reported in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Brikowski and his colleagues said the "kidney-stone belt" currently includes Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. But with global warming, the risk of kidney stone disease could ultimately touch a much wider swath of states, stretching from Kentucky all the way to northern California, the researchers said.

According to the U.S. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse, about 5 percent of Americans develop kidney stones at some point, with the risk rising as men and women enter their 40s and 50s, respectively.

Typically composed of calcium and other minerals found in urine, a kidney stone is a hard, crystallized mass that passes -- often painfully -- through the urinary tract. Drinking too little fluid and/or dehydration can lead to development of a stone, as can a metabolic predisposition for kidney stone disease, known as nephrolithiasis.

To gauge the potential impact of global warming on kidney stone risk, the researchers analyzed two prior kidney stone studies that had plotted disease incidence by U.S. geographic regions, along with federal reports assessing global warming patterns. The researchers then developed two mathematical models to compute all the information. Both models predicted that the current "kidney-stone belt" would expand and that overall incidence will rise.

However, while one model suggested that most of the rise in cases will be concentrated in the southern half of the United States, the other model identified the upper Midwest region as the future problem area.

The study concluded that, in either case, the increase in kidney stone cases could boost health-care costs by as much as $1 billion.

"And this problem is not just confined to the U.S.," said Brikowski. "This will also touch southern Europe, southeastern Europe, and southeast Asia. And because in that last area treatment options are more limited, countries in that region will certainly experience a much more severe impact on health."

Kristina Penniston, a registered dietician and associate scientist in the department of urology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, called the new research "illuminating and provocative."

"It does seem entirely plausible that incidence [of kidney stones] will increase with global warming, primarily because one of the driving forces of incidence is hydration, and with global warming people will tend to be less well hydrated," she said.

"I'm also interested," Penniston added, "in how global warming will impact the diet of people, because there are also many nutritional factors related to kidney stones. And climate change affects the nutrient composition of the plants that we grow and the animals that we eat. For example, fruits and vegetables are inhibitors of stones. So the question then is, will people be eating less of that as temperatures rise because these things don't grow as abundantly? And will that then alter people's risk for stones? These are some of the important issues that this study raises."

More information

For additional information on kidney stones, visit the U.S. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse.



SOURCES: Tom Brikowski, Ph.D., associate professor, hydrology specialty, department of geosciences, University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, Texas; Kristina Penniston, Ph.D., R.D., associate scientist, department of urology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison; July 14-18, 2008, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Last Updated: July 14, 2008

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