Researchers Publish Findings on Study of How Living Conditions Affect Black Kidney Patients

Team examines 10 years of data on about 6,000 patients that suggests inequalities play a role
January 14, 2019, New York, NY– A team of five researchers published a new study in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases (AJKD) that suggests kidney health for black patients may depend on where they live.
Their study that looked at 10 years of data on thousands of people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) draws a possible connection for the rate of decline in kidney health over time for black people living in neighborhoods with more social problems than other communities.
The article, titled “Neighborhood Social Context and Kidney Function Over Time: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)” will be one of the month’s highlights in the AJKD, which is the official journal of the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), and is devoted to clinical nephrology and research.
 “Further study is needed to understand how neighborhoods affect renal health,” said one of the authors, Margaret T. Hicken of the Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan. “Is it through the perception of one’s neighborhood as a good place to live? Or is it through more objective factors, such as resources that support a healthy life?
“It is well-documented that black adults have greater CKD compared to white adults and that, due to tremendously high levels of racial segregation in the U.S., black and white adults live in neighborhoods of very unequal quality.
“I am hoping that these results reinforce the need to study the role of neighborhood context when it comes to racial inequalities in CKD,” Hicken said.
Data from about 6,000 men and women with CKD gathered by MESA was analyzed by the team. In addition to Hicken, the authors were Ronit Katz of the Kidney Research Institute, University of Washington; Carmen A. Peralta of The Kidney Health Research Collaborative at the University of California, San Francisco and San Francisco VA Medical Center; Deidra C. Crews, Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions; and Holly Mattix-Kramer, MD, Department of Nephrology and Hypertension, Loyola University School of Medicine.
“We have realized over the past several years that genetic variance does not fully explain racial differences in kidney disease risk and we cannot ignore the strong operative role of socioeconomic factors in health,” said Mattix-Kramer, who is also the President of NKF.
The AJKD article will be freely available online for non-subscribers for 90 days. For information about becoming an NKF member subscriber, go to
Article Information
The article is “Neighborhood Social Context and Kidney Function Over Time: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)” by Margaret T. Hicken, Ronit Katz, Carmen A. Peralta, Deidra C. Crews, Holly Mattix-Kramer (AJKD In Press at
About the American Journal of Kidney Diseases
The American Journal of Kidney Diseases (AJKD), the official journal of the National Kidney Foundation, is recognized worldwide as a leading source of information devoted to clinical nephrology practice and clinical research. Articles selected for publication in AJKD must adhere to rigorous standards, supporting the journal's goal to communicate important new information in clinical nephrology in a way that strengthens knowledge and helps physicians to provide their patients with the highest standard of care.
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For the past 27 years, nephrology healthcare professionals from across the country have come to NKF’s Spring Clinical Meetings to learn about the newest developments related to all aspects of nephrology practice; network with colleagues; and present their research findings. The NKF Spring Clinical Meetings are designed for meaningful change in the multidisciplinary healthcare teams’ skills, performance, and patient health outcomes. It is the only conference of its kind that focuses on translating science into practice for the entire healthcare team.  This year’s Spring Clinical Meetings will be held May 8-12 in Boston, MA.
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Kidney Disease Facts
In the United States 30 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease—and most aren’t aware of it.  1 in 3 American adults are at risk for chronic kidney disease.  Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and family history.  People of African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease.  African Americans are 3 times more likely than whites, and Hispanics are nearly 1.5 times more likely than non-Hispanics to develop end stage renal disease (kidney failure).
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive, and longstanding patient-centric organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease in the U.S. For more information about NKF, visit