La Isla Network’s research lays the groundwork for future investigations into the causes of CKDu and strategies for prevention.

Regional health survey

La Isla Foundation funded a municipal study conducted by the Research Center on Health, Work and Environment (CISTA) of the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua at León (UNAN-León) and the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health (MINSA) in 2014. The study took a 2,000-person sample of the population of León. Researchers investigated heat stress, dehydration, CKD, drug use, and depression. As the first ever municipality-wide prevalence study for CKD conducted anywhere in the world, this study will serve as a model for future research projects.

Identifying causal drivers and onset of disease

In collaboration with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University College London, and Imperial College, LIN has partnered with Solidaridad and the Colt Foundation to fund a three-year community cohort study. Launched in October of 2015, the study will follow approximately 400 people from sugar-producing communities in Nicaragua over three years. Researchers are investigating who tends to develop CKDu and their associated risk factors. They are also focusing on biomarkers that indicate early stages of disease, so that quicker and more effective interventions are possible.

Analyzing cross-border similarities and biopsies

Karolinska Institutet and local actors financed by the International Society of Nephrologists (ISN) conducted biopsy studies in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Sri Lanka in order to examine the kidney physiology and biochemical characteristics of men with CKDu. These researchers are currently comparing these results to determine if the epidemics in Central America and South Asia are related. La Isla Network provided logistical support and funding for the biopsies in Nicaragua and will support the upcoming work in India.