Martin Pollak, our chief of nephrology, sends along a link to a recent podcast in which he is interviewed. He summarizes:
Basically, we have sorted out why African Americans get so much more kidney disease than other groups. It is related to the development of genetic resistance to sleeping sickness in Africans about 5000 years ago. Specific genetic differences that protect against sleeping sickness increase the risk of kidney disease.
Check Science Magazine Vol 329, 13 August 2010, at page 841 for the full printed version, and for a commentary article, in Vol 329, 16 July 2010, at page 263.