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Mysterious disease may be tied to climate change, says CU Anschutz researcher

AURORA, Colo. (Oct. 8, 2015) – A mysterious kidney disease that has killed over 20,000 people in Central America, most of them sugar cane workers, may be caused by chronic, severe dehydration linked to global climate change, according to a new study by Richard J. Johnson, MD, of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

“This could be the first epidemic directly caused by global warming,” said Johnson, professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and a world-renowned expert on the underlying causes of obesity, kidney disease, diabetes and hypertension. “Some districts of Nicaragua have been called the `land of widows’ due to the high mortality rates occurring among the male workers from chronic kidney disease.”

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