Birthwort and the Balkan Nephropathy – A Fascinating Medical & Environmental Detective Story

It’s one of the most fascinating pieces of medical detective work I’ve ever heard.   Using plain old-fashioned legwork combined with high tech laboratory investigation, a touch of international intrigue and even a bit of CIA intelligence data, Arthur Grollman and his collaborators across the globe have teased out the connection between Aristolochic acid –  found in Birthwort, a naturally growing herb – and the Balkan Nephropathy, a fatal kidney disease whose cause has eluded scientists for decades.

It’s a tale of caution for anyone who thinks herbal means safe, a tale of inspiration for scientists and epidemiologists of all ages, and a tale of intrigue for anyone who loves a good detective story. Do come hear it.

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