Dimensionality and implications of reduced cognitive performance following kidney transplant

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is an increasingly common disorder among middle-aged and older adults. More than 1,000 Canadians received kidney transplants in 1999, and there were more than three times that many on waiting lists. Deficits in memory and cognition are common in adults with chronic kidney disease and these worsen with increasing age. Cognitive abilities continue to be impaired following successful kidney transplant. However, decreased cognitive function in successful kidney transplant patients, which has vast implications on quality of life, has not been thoroughly examined. Theone Paterson is studying the everyday cognitive ability of renal transplant patients and how age, traditional and everyday measures of cognitive performance, and differing emotional states affect their quality of life and their ability to function in society on a daily basis post transplant. Specifically, Paterson’s research is looking at how these factors affect their ability to follow treatment regimens, such as taking medicines and following dietary restrictions. This work could lead to new approaches, including special training for healthcare providers in ways of supporting patients to better understand and remember aspects of treatment. Ultimately, the goal is to improve patients’ lives.