Rutgers University Professor Awarded CRN Research Grant to Study Metabolism of Patients with Kidney Disease

New York, NY – Dec. 4, 2018 – Hoping to improve the lives of patients with chronic kidney disease, Rutgers University Professor Laura Byham-Gray, PhD, RDN, FNKF, has been awarded a National Kidney Foundation Council on Renal Nutrition (CRN) research grant to begin a study of malnutrition in patients with the disease.
Beginning this fall, Dr. Byham-Gray will examine, in a 2-year study, bone disease in patients with stage 3 to 5 chronic kidney disease (CKD).
“While survival is improving among U.S. patients diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, they are still at considerable risk for poor outcomes,” Byham-Gray says. “One factor explaining the high mortality rate is the presence of malnutrition and muscle wasting, which may be associated with compensatory changes in bone and energy metabolism.”
One in 3 American adults is at risk for kidney disease. Thirty million American adults have kidney disease — and most aren’t aware of it. Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, family history, or age 60 and over. People of African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease. African Americans are 3½ times more likely, and Hispanics 1½ times more likely, to experience kidney failure.
The two-year grant was made possible through funds provided by a Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. Renal Nutrition Research Grant.  By supporting those who aspire to study the care of kidney disease patients, the National Kidney Foundation is making an important investment in the future of the scientific community dedicated to kidney research.  The Renal Nutrition Research Grant funds a renal dietitian whose research and career goals are directed to evaluating the care of the CKD patient with the associated co-morbidities of iron deficiency anemia (IDA) or chronic kidney disease-mineral bone disorder (CKD-MBD). 
“Overall, malnutrition is an important complication of CKD and especially for those treated with dialysis,” says Joseph Vassalotti, MD, Chief Medical Officer of the National Kidney Foundation. “We are pleased to support this study of the interaction between malnutrition and CKD mineral and bone disorder.”
Dr. Byham-Gray is a professor and Vice Chair of Research in the Department of Clinical and Preventive Nutrition Sciences, School of Health Professions at Rutgers, in Newark, NJ. She has practiced in the field of clinical nutrition with a specialty in nutrition support and kidney disease for more than 15 years and has a long career of researching the disease. She received her Bachelor of Science in nutrition and dietetics from Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA, her Master of Science in food science and human nutrition from the University of Delaware and her doctorate in nutrition at New York University.
By examining bone disease in CKD patients, Dr. Byham-Gray hopes to determine whether malnutrition and bone disorders influence the metabolism of the patients and if these markers are mediated by body composition. Her research could mean CKD patients, who live with a host of debilitating symptoms including low energy, get treated more quickly for mineral abnormalities and bone disorders or even learn methods to prevent them altogether. Dr. Byham-Gray and her team will do the research at Rutgers in New Jersey.
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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 organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney diseaseFor more information about the NKF visit