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Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2011 Aug;6(8):1824-30. doi: 10.2215/CJN.09751110. Epub 2011 Jul 7.

Neurocognitive functioning of children and adolescents with mild-to-moderate chronic kidney disease.

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  • 1Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities, CB# 7255, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7255, USA.



Few data exist on the neurocognitive functioning of children with mild-to-moderate chronic kidney disease (CKD). The primary objectives of this paper are (1) to determine the neurocognitive status in this population and (2) to identify sociodemographic and health-status variables associated with neurocognitive functioning.


This was a cross-sectional study of 368 children, aged 6 to 16 years, from the Chronic Kidney Disease in Children (CKiD) cohort. Median iGFR was 43 ml/min per 1.73 m(2), and the median duration of CKD was 8.0 years. Approximately 26% had underlying glomerular disease. Measures of intelligence, academic achievement, attention regulation, and executive functioning were obtained at study entry. The prevalence of neurocognitive deficits was determined by comparing participant scores on each measure of neurocognitive functioning with normative data. The association between hypothesized predictors of neurocognitive dysfunction was evaluated using multivariate regression analyses.


Neurocognitive functioning was within the average range for the entire group; however, 21% to 40% of participants scored at least one SD below the mean on measures of intelligence quotient (IQ), academic achievement, attention regulation, or executive functioning. Higher iohexol-based GFR (iGFR) predicted a lesser risk for poor performance on measures of executive function. Participants having elevated proteinuria (i.e., urine protein/creatinine >2) scored lower on verbal IQ, full-scale IQ, and attention variability than those without elevated proteinuria.


Whereas most children with mild-to-moderate CKD have no major neurocognitive deficits, a substantial percentage did show neurocognitive dysfunction that places them at risk for poor long-term educational and occupational outcomes.

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