Previous studies suggest a link between chronic kidney disease (CKD) and cognitive impairment. Whether the longitudinal course of cognitive impairment differs among people with or without CKD is unknown. Data collected in 3034 elderly individuals who participated in the Health, Aging, and Body Composition study were analyzed. Cognitive function was assessed with the Modified Mini-Mental State Exam (3MS) at baseline and then 2 and 4 yr after baseline. Cognitive impairment was defined as a 3MS score <80 or a decline in 3MS >5 points after 2 or 4 yr of follow-up among participants with baseline 3MS scores ≥80. Participants with CKD, defined as an estimated GFR (eGFR) <60 ml/min per 1.73 m2, were further divided into two eGFR strata. Unadjusted mean baseline 3MS scores and mean declines in 3MS scores over 4 yr were significantly more pronounced for participants with lower baseline eGFR. More advanced stages of CKD were associated with an increased risk for cognitive impairment: Odds ratio (OR) 1.32 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.03 to 1.69) and OR 2.43 (95% CI, 1.38 to 4.29) for eGFR 45 to 59 ml/min per 1.73 m2 and <45 ml/min per 1.73 m2, respectively, adjusted for case mix, baseline 3MS scores, and other potential confounders. CKD is associated with an increased risk for cognitive impairment in the elderly that cannot be fully explained by other well-established risk factors. Studies aimed at understanding the mechanism(s) responsible for cognitive impairment in CKD and efforts to interrupt this decline are warranted.
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