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Your Environment. Your Health.

The Many Factors Involved in Chronic Kidney Disease

Partnerships for Environmental Public Education (PEPH)

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The Many Factors Involved in Chronic Kidney Disease

April 22, 2019

Interviewee: Madeleine Scammell, D.Sc.

In this podcast, we’ll hear about a unique epidemic of kidney disease that cannot be explained by traditional or known risk factors like high blood pressure or genetics, called chronic kidney disease of unknown origin (CKDu), and what NIEHS-funded researchers are doing to understand and address this growing problem.

Editorial credit: David Litman / Shutterstock.com

The Many Factors Involved in Chronic Kidney Disease

Recently, more attention has been focused on the environmental factors involved in kidney disease, including exposure to potentially harmful chemicals, elevated temperatures, and infections, among others. In this podcast, we’ll hear about a unique epidemic of kidney disease that cannot be explained by traditional or known risk factors like high blood pressure or genetics, called chronic kidney disease of unknown origin (CKDu), and what NIEHS-funded researchers are doing to understand and address this growing problem.

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Kidneys are vital organs that filter waste and toxins from the blood. They are also responsible for regulating the levels of electrolytes and making important hormones that control blood pressure, make red blood cells, and keep bones strong. When kidneys are diseased, many other health consequences, such as heart disease, stroke, or infections, can follow.

Interviewee

Madeleine Scammell

Madeleine Scammell, D.Sc., is an associate professor of environmental health at the Boston University (BU) School of Public Health. Her expertise is in the area of community-driven and community-based participatory research, including qualitative methods for environmental health and epidemiologic studies.

Scammell leads the Community Engagement Core (CEC) at the NIEHS BU Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center. The CEC aims to increase the awareness and utility of BU SRP Center research for communities living near hazardous waste sites or who are affected by other environmental health hazards.

Scammell is the principal investigator of a recently funded longitudinal study of agricultural workers in El Salvador (an NIEHS/NIH Outstanding New Environmental Scientist award), focused on understanding the roles of heat stress, and heavy metal and herbicide exposures on the risk of developing kidney disease among agricultural workers in El Salvador, where death rates from the disease are very high. She is also a co-investigator on a study of occupational risk factors of kidney disease in both El Salvador and Nicaragua. These efforts are focused on identifying and preventing exposures that may contribute to the epidemic of chronic kidney disease in Central America.

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