Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Anne Kroeger Receives Fellowship to Study Fluorosis

Anne Kroeger, a PhD student in Anthropology, has been awarded an NSF Fellowship to study skeletal and dental fluorosis in Ethiopia.  Kroeger did her undergraduate training in chemistry and biology, and focuses on human health in her discipline of Biological Anthropology. Her research involves understanding the progression and health effects of skeletal fluorosis within populations living in the Ethiopian Rift Valley. In the Rift Valley, fluoride levels have been detected as high as 33 mg/l. The WHO recommendation for maximum fluoridation is 1.5 mg/l.   Skeletal fluorosis can develop with chronic exposure to fluoride levels as low as 3 mg/l, and crippling skeletal fluorosis with fluoride levels above 6 mg/l.   

Anne Kroeger has been awarded an NSF Fellowship
to conduct her work in Ethiopia.
Kroeger will travel this summer to Ethiopia's Rift Valley with another graduate student of the WaTER Center, Laura Brunson, and other faculty and staff affiliated with the WaTER Center. These other personnel are exploring research questions concerning locally-available and sustainable technologies for fluoride removal and concerning the business entrepreneurship environment at both the macro- and micro-levels.

Indian woman who suffers from long-term effects of skeletal fluorosis.

Kroeger's research will seek to uncover the physical effects of fluoride consumption, including pain and decreased range of motion. While other WaTER Center students are studying methods of fluoride removal, Kroeger will examine alternative ways to alleviate or reduced the physical effects of fluoride consumption. She is also interested in developing simple and inexpensive ways of measuring / estimating the amount of fluoride being taken up by the the body.

Kroeger is grateful for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship that will support her work. With this grant, she hopes to emphasize the importance of fluorosis and water quality and also to learn how to mitigate the effects of fluorosis before children develop painful manifestations.  Ultimately, this study will help improve the understanding of how fluoride is metabolized in bone and how the disease progresses through the skeleton.

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