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  1. Polycystic kidney disease is a genetic condition where fluid-filled sacs grow in the kidneys.
    I dyed large cotton balls to show how enlarged the cysts and kidneys get, causing the kidneys to lose the ability to filter waste from the blood and eventually leading to renal kidney failure.

    Darcy Hoban
  2. For the STEAM abstract essay portion of the project, I was partnered up with Darcy Hoban. When I found that out, I was thrilled. Darcy consistently gives thorough and in depth OMW’s each week which I find extremely helpful. For her STEAM project, she focused on polycystic kidney disease. This disease actually hits close to home – my dad and uncle both suffer from this. It is an inherited gene, so I wonder if I carry it, or if my future children will.
    In Darcy’s essay, she explained that polycystic kidney disease is a common cause of end-stage renal kidney failure. Most cases of this disease are inherited, and that it affects more than 10 million people in the world. This kidney disease affects the PKD1 or the PKD2 gene in each cell. These genes provide instructions for making proteins and transmitting chemical signals to the cells’ nucleus. Darcy also mentioned that the autosomal dominant disease is more common and causes cysts to grow only in the kidneys, which eventually restricts the kidney’s ability to filter waste products from the blood. If the cysts become too large, they can cause expansion and potentially spread cysts to other parts of the body (the liver for example).
    The tests that can be done for polycystic kidney disease includes a glomerular filtration rate, where a blood test is done to measure the blood cleaned by the kidneys per minute. A normal GFR reading is about 80ml/minute/m2.
    Darcy also mentions in her essay the following complications that you can experience along with the disease, like hypertension, aneurysms, back pain, UTIs, blood in the urine, kidney stones, and heart valve abnormalities. However, there are ways to help prevent this disease from progressing. Maintaining a healthy weight with a good diet and consistent exercise, keeping a healthy blood pressure, healthy sugar levels, and medications that can extend a patient’s time before needing dialysis or a transplant.
    Overall, Darcy’s essay was very informative and thorough. Although this disease is close to home, I didn’t know much about it and what causes it. She did a great job at explaining the disease as if she was talking to me about it face to face.

    Chandler Wassmann

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