August 6, 2015

Kidney Impairment Decreases Blood Flow to the Brain, Boosting Risk of Stroke and Dementia

WASHINGTON, DC -- August 6, 2015 -- Impaired kidney function may lead to decreased blood flow to the brain, and ultimately to the occurrence of stroke or dementia, according to a study published early online ahead of the print edition of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Stroke and dementia are more common in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) than in individuals in the general population, but it’s unclear why. To investigate a potential kidney-brain link, M. Arfan Ikram, MD, Sanaz Sedaghat, MD, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and colleagues examined information on 2,645 participants in the population-based Rotterdam Study, looking at individuals’ kidney function and blood flow to the brain.

The investigators found that poor kidney function was strongly related to hypoperfusion of the brain. Poor kidney function was also linked to stroke and dementia, most strongly in participants with hypoperfusion. These findings were independent from known cardiovascular risk factors.

“Our findings provide a possible explanation linking kidney disease to brain disease,” said Dr. Ikram. “Also, given that kidney disease and hypoperfusion of the brain are both possibly reversible, there might be an opportunity to explore how improving these conditions can ultimately reduce one’s risk of developing brain disease.”

The study also showed that the kidney-brain link is not confined to patients with CKD, but extends to persons from the general population without overt disease.

SOURCE: American Society of Nephrology
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