A new analysis links poor kidney function cognitive decline. Daniel Weiner, MD, FASN, from  Tufts Medical Center, and his colleagues gathered information from the Systolic Blood Pressure INTervention (SPRINT) cognition substudy, SPRINT-MIND. Among 9,361 SPRINT-MIND participants, 2,800 were administered an expanded cognitive battery at the start of the study and 2,707 had complete data; 637 also had brain imaging. The results were presented at ASN Kidney Week 2016 November 15–20 in Chicago.

After adjusting for various demographic and clinical characteristics, higher albumin in the urine, 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 six to 14 months of aging in these cognitive domains.

Lower estimated glomerular filtration rate 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 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.”

Study: “Cognitive Function and Kidney Disease: Baseline Data from the SPRINT Trial” (Abstract 744)