Study Links Kidney Disease With Silent Stroke, Dementia, Cognitive Impairment

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New research presented at Kidney Week 2022 ASN Annual Meeting, demonstrates an association between albuminuria and risk of cognitive problems.

Investigators discovered a connection between albuminuria, a marker of kidney disease, and signs of silent stroke in an analysis from the Framingham Heart Study. Dearbhla M. Kelly, MB, BAO, MSc, DPhil, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the team of investigators reported that patients with albuminuria were at an elevated risk of developing mild cognitive impairment or dementia.

The study "Associations of Impaired Kidney Function With Cerebral Small Vessel Disease and Cognitive Disorders: Findings From the Framingham Heart Study" was presented at the 2022 American Society of Nephrology (ASN) Annual Meeting this week in Orlando, FL.

Impaired kidney function is a characterization of various conditions. The relationship between chronic kidney disease (CKD) and silent stroke was not statistically significant, though it was associated with a risk of dementia.

The research resulted in data from a population-based study on 2738 individuals without dementia. Findings showed 187 (7%) had chronic kidney disease, and 251 (9%) had albuminuria. After analyzing these data, investigators reported a 65% higher risk of developing mild cognitive impairment or dementia in patients with the urinary marker of kidney disease.

While chronic kidney disease in particular was not associated with all the risks apparent in those with albuminuria, like markers of silent cerebrovascular disease, the condition was linked with a 51% increased risk of developing dementia.

“Our results highlight the importance of albuminuria as a cerebrovascular and cognitive risk factor and indicate that there may be additional shared disease mechanisms in the kidney and the brain beyond hypertension,” Kelly said in a statement.