Older kidney disease patients who are sick enough to require the blood-filtering treatment known as dialysis are at high risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study led by scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The study, published Aug. 9 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society for Nephrology, found evidence that older kidney disease patients had a substantially higher risk of being diagnosed with dementia than community-dwelling older adults.
“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 Dr. Mara McAdams-DeMarco, assistant professor of epidemiology at the Bloomberg School.
To Dr. McAdams-DeMarco and her colleagues, the findings suggest that doctors should be doing more to monitor, and if possible to slow or prevent, cognitive decline among older dialysis patients. “The high incidence of dementia seems to be overlooked in this population,” she says.