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Research provides insights on the link between kidney damage and cognitive impairment

November 17, 2016

Highlights
  • Kidney damage was linked with worse performance on tests of global cognitive function, executive function, memory, and attention.
  • Kidney damage may also be linked with structural abnormalities in the brain.
  • Research that uncovered these findings will be presented at ASN Kidney Week 2016 November 15-20 at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL.

Chicago, IL (November 17, 2016) -- People with kidney disease are at high risk of cognitive impairment, but the nature of this relationship remains uncertain. A new analysis that investigates this link will be presented at ASN Kidney Week 2016 November 15¬-20 at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL.

For the analysis, Daniel Weiner, MD, FASN (Tufts Medical Center) and his colleagues gathered information from the Systolic Blood Pressure INTervention (SPRINT) cognition substudy, SPRINT-MIND. Among 9361 SPRINT-MIND participants, 2800 were administered an expanded cognitive battery at the start of the study and 2707 had complete data; 637 also had brain imaging.

After adjusting for various demographic and clinical characteristics, higher albumin in the urine, which is indicative of poor kidney function, was linked with worse performance on tests of global cognitive function, executive function, memory, and attention. Each doubling of the amount of albumin in the urine was akin to the effect of 6 to 14 months of aging in these cognitive domains. Lower estimated glomerular filtration rate, another indicator of poor kidney function, was linked with worse performance on tests of global cognitive function and memory. In the subset of participants with brain imaging, higher albumin in the urine was associated with abnormal white matter regions in the brain.

"The findings cement the association between kidney damage and cognitive functioning, suggesting that albumin in the urine and changes in brain structure are likely both representations of the same vascular process, just in different organs," said Dr. Weiner. "This manifests with worse brain function, particularly in domains linked to cerebrovascular disease. The fact that this comes from baseline data in the SPRINT trial suggests that these findings are likely relevant to tens of millions of US adults."
-end-
Study: "Cognitive Function and Kidney Disease: Baseline Data from the SPRINT Trial" (Abstract 744)

ASN Kidney Week 2016, the largest nephrology meeting of its kind, will provide a forum for more than 13,000 professionals to discuss the latest findings in kidney health research and engage in educational sessions related to advances in the care of patients with kidney and related disorders. Kidney Week 2016 will take place November 15-20, 2016 in Chicago, IL.

The content of this article does not reflect the views or opinions of The American Society of Nephrology (ASN). Responsibility for the information and views expressed therein lies entirely with the author(s). ASN does not offer medical advice. All content in ASN publications is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions, or adverse effects. This content should not be used during a medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Please consult your doctor or other qualified health care provider if you have any questions about a medical condition, or before taking any drug, changing your diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment. Do not ignore or delay obtaining professional medical advice because of information accessed through ASN. Call 911 or your doctor for all medical emergencies.

Since 1966, ASN has been leading the fight to prevent, treat, and cure kidney diseases throughout the world by educating health professionals and scientists, advancing research and innovation, communicating new knowledge, and advocating for the highest quality care for patients. ASN has nearly 16,000 members representing 112 countries. For more information, please visit http://www.asn-online.org or contact us at (202) 640-4660.

American Society of Nephrology

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