Decreased cognitive functioning associated with deterioration in kidney function

Published on November 19, 2012 at 3:24 AM · No Comments

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.

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