Nav: Home

Decreased kidney function leads to decreased cognitive functioning

November 19, 2012

Decreased kidney function is associated with decreased cognitive functioning in areas such as global cognitive ability, abstract reasoning and verbal memory, according to a study led by Temple University. This is the first study describing change in multiple domains of cognitive functioning in order to determine which specific abilities are most affected in individuals with impaired renal function.

Researchers from Temple, University of Maine and University of Maryland examined longitudinal data, five years apart, from 590 people. They wanted to see how much kidney function had changed over that time period, and whether it was associated with how much cognitive functioning had changed. They were interested in the overall change, but also in specific abilities such as abstract reasoning and verbal memory.

"The brain and kidney are both organs that are affected by the cardiovascular systems," said the study's lead author, Adam Davey, associate professor of public health in Temple's College of Health Professions and Social Work. "They are both affected by things like blood pressure and hypertension, so it is natural to expect that changes in one organ are going to be linked with changes in another."

What the researchers found was the greater a person's decrease in renal functioning, the greater the decrease in overall cognitive functioning, particularly abstract reasoning and verbal memory.

"Those two tracked together, so this study provides us with evidence that the rate of cognitive decline is associated with deterioration in kidney function" said Davey.

Davey said that this information emphasizes two important points: the importance of diagnosing and managing chronic kidney disease and the extent of decrease in cognitive functioning.

"As we get older, our kidney function tends to decrease naturally, so if there's an extra issue involved in renal function like chronic kidney disease, we need to know about it as soon as possible," he said. "That is something that needs to be managed, just like you would manage hypertension."

Davey also noted that the decrease in cognitive functioning found in the study--when compared to people with dementia or cognitive impairment--is not so great that it would interfere with people being able to assist in their treatment of kidney disease.

"Patients are still going to be able to take their medicine on time and without assistance, as well as understand the information that their physician is sharing with them about their disease," he said.

-end-

In addition to Davey, researchers in this study included Merrill Elias, Michael Robbins and Gregory Dore of the University of Maine's Department of Psychology and School of Biomedical Sciences and Stephen L. Seliger of the University of Maryland's School of Medicine.

The researchers published their findings, "Decline in Renal Functioning is Associated with Longitudinal Decline in Global Cognitive Functioning, Abstract Reasoning, and Verbal Memory," in the journal Nephrology, Dialysis and Transplantation.

The study was funded by grants from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health to Temple University and the University of Maine.

Copies of this study are available to working journalists and may be obtained by contacting Preston M. Moretz in Temple's Office of University Communications at pmoretz@temple.edu.

Temple University
Combating chronic kidney disease with exercise
A University of Delaware research team is combating chronic kidney disease (CKD) with exercise.
A new mutation in kidney disease
Osaka University researchers find an unexpected mutation in proteins of the exosome could be a valuable biomarker for diagnosing the risk of kidney disease.
New answers for kids with inherited kidney disease
A new gene behind a rare form of inherited childhood kidney disease has been identified by a global research team.
Revealed: The biochemical pathways of kidney disease
In a study, recently published in PLOS Genetics, Chiara Gamberi and her coauthors developed an innovative fruit fly-based model of the types of harmful cysts that can form on kidneys.
Forging new defenses against diabetic kidney disease
Scientists at Joslin Diabetes Center have revealed an unexpected route to slow the progression of diabetic kidney disease, targeting a biological pathway that is the main channel for the metabolism of glucose in the cell.
Kidney disease is a major cause of cardiovascular deaths
In 2013, reduced kidney function was associated with 4 percent of deaths worldwide, or 2.2 million deaths.
A kidney disease's genetic clues are uncovered
Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have identified genes that are linked to the underlying molecular defect in people with IgA nephropathy, an autoimmune kidney disease.
Beating kidney disease together
Chronic kidney disease is a frequently encountered disorder: more than 10% of the population suffer from such problems.
Reflux and ulcer medications linked to kidney stones and chronic kidney disease
Individuals who took proton pump inhibitors or histamine receptor-2 blockers for heartburn, acid reflux, or ulcers had elevated risks of developing kidney stones.
Method to create kidney organoids from patient cells provides insights on kidney disease
Scientists have developed a method to coax human pluripotent stem cells to mature into cells that go on to form the functional units of the kidney.

Best Science Podcasts 2017

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2017. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.

Now Playing: Radiolab

Truth Trolls
Today, a third story of folks relentlessly searching for the truth. But this time, the truth seekers are an unlikely bunch... internet trolls.


Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking School
For most of modern history, humans have placed smaller humans in institutions called schools. But what parts of this model still work? And what must change? This hour, TED speakers rethink education.TED speakers include teacher Tyler DeWitt, social entrepreneur Sal Khan, international education expert Andreas Schleicher, and educator Linda Cliatt-Wayman.