The College hosted a Renal Medicine conference on 25 April, which included an expert line-up of speakers from the health and academia sectors. Talks were given on ‘Self-directed treatment’; showing how renal replacement therapy, including home dialysis is developing; the role of genetics in renal disease; frailty in dialysis patients; and a review of history of nephrology specifically at the time kidney transplants were first evolving. 

Dr Mark Findlay, Clinical Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow, will discuss the emerging theory of dialysis-induced ‘cerebral stunning’. This condition can lead not only to short term cognitive impairment but may be responsible for ongoing cognitive decline in dialysis recipients. During his own research funded by Kidney Research UK, Dr Findlay found that cerebral blood flow declines during dialysis and this correlated with a decline in the executive functions of the brain, including working memory, mental flexibility, and self-control – comparable with vascular disease and stroke.

Commenting ahead of his presentation, Dr Mark Findlay said:

"Cognitive impairment in dialysis is an important topic and has direct consequences on both quality and quantity of life for our patients. Although increasing research is beginning to focus on the mechanisms behind this, current data have highlighted an important point: cognitive impairment in dialysis is poorly recognised. The opportunity to present on this topic to such a wide audience is an excellent chance to highlight what may well be an under-recognised 'complication' of dialysis."

Dr Conor Maguire, the College's Director of Education, introduced the conference. He said:

“The research that our expert guest speakers have been undertaking is an excellent contribution to our understanding of renal medicine. I hope that our delegates, many of whom treat patients with kidney conditions on a daily basis, will take some important lessons away from the conference. I’m looking forward to hearing from all of our speakers, including Dr Findlay, whose research is vital to our knowledge of the complications that can be associated with kidney dialysis.”

Paul Gillen

Contact: Paul Gillen 0131 247 3658