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Ann Gen Psychiatry. 2011 Aug 25;10:20. doi: 10.1186/1744-859X-10-20.

Cognitive function among hemodialysis patients in Japan.

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Department of Neuropsychiatry, Hirosaki University School of Medicine, Hirosaki, Japan.



Over 290,000 patients are undergoing hemodialysis (HD) in Japan. With old age, the odds of undergoing HD treatment sharply increase, as does the prevalence of cognitive impairment. The aim of the present work was to assess cognitive impairment in HD patients and its relation to clinical characteristics.


Using a cross-sectional design, we administered the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) to 154 HD outpatients and 852 participants from the Iwaki Health Promotion Project 2010, representing the general population.


The prevalence of cognitive impairment based on the MMSE was 18.8% in HD patients. HD patients showed a higher prevalence of cognitive impairment in older groups (50 years and older). In a logistic regression model with age, gender and amount of education as covariates, undergoing HD was a significant independent factor (OR = 2.28, 95% CI 1.33 to 3.94) associated with a lower MMSE score. Among HD patients, we found that level of education was associated with MMSE score.


There is a high prevalence of cognitive impairment among HD patients that has adverse implications for hospitalization and shortens their life expectancy. HD treatment was an independent risk factor for cognitive impairment. Clinicians should carefully monitor and treat cognitive impairment in HD patients. Further studies are required to determine the reasons for cognitive impairment in HD patients.

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