Groundwater experts meet kidney experts

Researchers in Sri Lanka
Image: Rohana Chandrajith

International scientists investigating water as cause for chronic kidney disease in Sri Lanka

Serious kidney disease is a widespread problem in Sri Lanka. Researchers assume that the kidney damage is caused by toxicological factors, such as contaminated groundwater. If this water is drunk and comes into direct contact with the kidneys it can lead to significant damage to the organs. German and Sri Lankan researchers are working together to investigate levels of contaminants in the water in various areas. Researchers from the Chair of Applied Geology at FAU and the Department of Nephropathology at Universitätsklinikum Erlangen are among those taking part in the project,

working closely with teams from the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka and the University of Tübingen. The geologists are investigating hydrogeological conditions and looking for evidence of heavy metals, such as arsenic and cadmium. They are also analysing organic pollutants, such as pesticides, in bodies of water. At the same time, the pathologists from Erlangen and doctors from the Kandy Teaching Hospital in Sri Lanka are looking into how the structure and function of diseased kidneys change over time.

The aim behind the project is for the researchers to discover the link between the cause and effects of the disease and the patterns behind its distribution. It is hoped that the research findings can be used to curb the spread of the disease in future by taking suitable measures. Health management plans are to be drawn up on the basis of the findings, which can then be transferred to other affected areas in future.

Further information:

Prof. Dr. Johannes Barth
Phone: +49 9131 8522621