News Focus

Mesoamerica's Mystery Killer

Science  11 Apr 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6180, pp. 143-147
DOI: 10.1126/science.344.6180.143

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Summary

Since 2002, researchers have reported that agricultural communities in the hot and humid Pacific Coast of Central America and southern Mexico have suffered a rising burden of chronic kidney disease (CKD) that has no obvious cause. Myriad theories have attempted to explain the factors behind what's called CKDu (the "u" is for "unknown" cause), with many researchers now convinced that heat stress and dehydration play a central role. But questions still outnumber answers, and intensive new research efforts promise to get to the bottom of this mystery.