Cognitive and psychosocial outcome after renal transplantation

Successful kidney transplants significantly improve physical and psychological health and life expectancy for recipients. However, a kidney transplant’s impact on cognitive abilities (brain functions such as awareness, perception and reasoning) is relatively unknown, even though cognitive impairments have been reported in patients on dialysis treatment for chronic kidney disease. Other factors can also impact cognitive function, including other illnesses and medication regimens. Patients with chronic kidney disease are also at considerably higher risk of emotional distress than their peers. To determine if cognitive capacities improve following a transplant, Shannon Lund is conducting one of the first studies comparing cognitive differences between patients on dialysis and those who have received kidney transplants. Shannon is specifically comparing cognitive function, depression, anxiety and coping styles in groups of patients, before and after transplantation. The research could help clarify the source of cognitive deficits in patients with chronic kidney disease before and after kidney transplantation, and help health care professionals develop more effective treatment strategies to improve care of these patients.