Given the rise in chronic kidney disease (CKD) in both children and adults, CKD has recently been targeted as a public health priority. Childhood onset kidney disease is generally a noncurable and progressive condition that leads to kidney failure by early adulthood. Fortunately, improved identification of kidney problems allows for early intervention, which is thought to slow progression toward end-stage renal disease. In addition, medical interventions for pediatric end-stage renal disease have also improved, allowing children to take advantage of lifesaving renal replacement treatments such as dialysis and kidney transplantation. In spite of improvements in identification and treatment, CKD causes both direct and indirect insults to a variety of organ systems. This paper reviews recently published studies pertaining to the neurocognitive and psychosocial impact of CKD on children of various ages and at various stages of kidney failure. Specific attention is focused on summarizing peer reviewed research that describes associations between kidney functioning and cognitive functioning, language acquisition, visual spatial abilities, memory, and executive functioning. In addition, peer reviewed research describing psychosocial outcomes associated with CKD related to academic achievement, social-behavioral functioning, and quality of life are summarized. The authors also identified disease-specific factors that likely mediate neurocognitive outcomes (e.g., anemia, hypertension, cardiovascular) and endorse the importance of continued interdisciplinary research collaborations that will provide a better understanding of the mechanisms responsible for improved neurocognitive functioning after transplantation. The authors conclude this review by describing a multicenter, prospective, longitudinal, National Institutes of Health funded study that is currently examining the developmental outcomes of children with mild to moderate CKD. The authors speculate that the Chronic Kidney Disease in Children Prospective Cohort Study (CKiD) findings will provide additional evidence-based guidance for clinicians and researchers working with children and adolescents with deteriorating kidney function to improve medical and developmental outcomes.
Copyright 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.