Decreased kidney function is strongly related to decreased blood flow to the brain, or hypoperfusion, according to a new study from researchers at Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands. Poor kidney function was linked to stroke and dementia most strongly in participants with hypoperfusion, and these findings were independent from known cardiovascular risk factors.

The findings appear in the article, entitled “Kidney Function and Cerebral Blood Flow: The Rotterdam Study,” which was published online in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology  on Aug. 6.

M. Arfan Ikram, MD, PhD, Sanaz Sedaghat, MSc, and their colleagues examined information on 2,645 participants in the population-based Rotterdam Study, looking at individuals’ kidney function and blood flow to the brain.

“Our findings provide a possible explanation linking kidney disease to brain disease,” said 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 shows that the kidney-brain link is not confined to patients with chronic kidney disease, but extends to persons from the general population without overt disease.

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