Decreases in estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) are associated with cognitive decline, according to a five-year longitudinal study of 590 community-living individuals. The study subjects (mean age 62.1 years; mean eGFR 78.4 mL/min/1.73m2) were free of dementia, acute stroke, and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) at baseline. Changes in renal functioning over time were related to observed changes in global cognitive ability, verbal episodic memory, and abstract reasoning, a team led by Adam Davey, PhD, of Temple University’s College of Health Professions and Social Work, reported online in Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation.

The relationship remained even after adjusting for demographic variables and cardiovascular disease risk factors and excluding individuals who developed dementia or experienced an acute stroke. The researchers concluded that early detection of mild to moderate kidney disease is an important public-health concern with regard to cognitive decline.