Problem: Organ Shortages

The number of people awaiting organ transplants has been growing steeply since the 1990’s. In fact, in 2011 of over 100 people awaiting organ transplants, only 30 were performed. A recent Economist article briefs on the challenge of organ rationing, especially in terms of how grey the judgement is when it comes to deciding who gets the organ. Moreover, with the number of baby boomers with kidney failures increasing (60%), another question had popped up: should organ donations favor the young?

The top organ that people need by far are kidneys; in 2013 there have been 4,061 kidney transplants performed, compared with the second contender, the liver, with only 1,542 performed. What’s more is that diabetes has been proven to be closely linked with kidney failure and end stage renal disease. This is frightening because people are getting diabetes more than ever today.

Which makes this soda project (however small and impact it might seem to make) a necessity and super important.

Solving the sugar consumption/metabolic disease problem is a long term goal though. The short term reality is that we are still short of kidneys. And, only 35% of people living on dialysis live more than 5 years. To solve the short term problem, there has been a lot of research in the area artificial kidneys. A UCSF article details recent progress on a hopeful design:

http://www.ucsf.edu/news/2012/10/12810/artificial-kidney-project-ucsf-receives-3-million-new-funding

According to the article, the US spends about $29 billion per year, 6% of its total medical budget, treating kidney failures. 400,000 people are currently on dialysis. The UCSF just got a $3 million dollar endowment for research. If the US could spend a little more on research so we could get this technology sooner, it would save so much more in the long run.

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