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Elderly dialysis patients have higher risk of cognitive problems like dementia, study says

Posted: 3:31 PM, Aug 09, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-09 19:31:30Z

End-stage kidney disease patients may need better cognitive monitoring and dementia prevention measures, a new study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health concludes.

Older patients who require dialysis, the blood filtering treatment that compensates for poor kidney functioning, are at high risk for dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, scientists who conducted the study found. The decline is most pronounced with executive functions like attention, impulse control, and working memory.

“The dementia risk in this population seems to be much higher than what we see among healthy community-dwelling older adults,” says study lead author Mara McAdams-DeMarco, assistant professor of epidemiology at the Bloomberg School.

The study suggests doctors should do more to monitor, and when possible slow or prevent, the decline of cognitive functioning among older dialysis patients. 

The report, titled "Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease, and Mortality After Hemodialysis Initiation," was written by McAdams-DeMarco, Matthew Daubresse, Sunjae Bae, Alden Gross, Michelle Carlson, and Dorry Segev. Funding was provided by the National Institute of Health.