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Bridget M. Kuehn

The high profile WannaCry and Petya ransomware attacks in 2017 brought institutions—including major health systems—around the world to a screeching halt and drew attention to the rising cybersecurity threats facing healthcare.

In fact, the nonprofit ECRI Institute named ransomware and other malicious software its top health technology hazard for 2018. Hackers use these computer programs to infiltrate an organization’s network and prevent the organization from accessing its electronic medical records or online systems. The attackers then demand a ransom to stop the attack. These attacks can bring normal hospital operations to a halt causing delays in patient care that could

Bridget M. Kuehn

By 6 a.m. each morning, an electronic dashboard displaying real-time information about the 8 to 10 patients at highest risk for acute kidney injury (AKI) is available for review by the nephrologists at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

“We have an entire day’s work cut out for us and see who needs the attention,” said Kanwel Kher, MD, chief of the division of nephrology at the hospital. “We have to evaluate them quickly, we can do that in about 10 to 15 minutes.”

The nephrologists can access patients’ complete charts through links in the dashboard, which is integrated with the hospital’s electronic

Bridget M. Kuehn

Patients receiving dialysis in predominantly black neighborhoods have higher rates of hospitalization, and Black and Hispanic women have higher rates of hypertension after preeclampsia, according to a pair of studies.

The studies are the latest in a growing body of evidence to suggest that substantial disparities in kidney care exist among patients who are Black and Hispanic, and they highlight the need for improved care to reduce preventable complications.

While the studies identify disparities, they fail to explicitly address the role that both structural racism and implicit biases in care may play in causing them, said Vanessa Grubbs, MD, associate

Bridget M. Kuehn

Diet and other health tracking mobile applications have become a part of everyday life for many people, and patients with kidney disease are no exception. Patients can choose from numerous kidney nutrition apps available in app stores, but experts warn many contain misleading or inaccurate information and few have undergone rigorous testing to ensure they are safe and effective.

A growing number of clinicians are trying to change that by developing and rigorously testing apps that help kidney patients make dietary choices to optimize their health. In September 2018, the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP), the Veterans Transplantation Association,

Bridget M. Kuehn

Terry Litchfield, MPH, draws on five decades of experience when she argues for a more patient-centered approach to developing new vascular access options. Her experience stretches back to when her late husband Gerald started dialysis in 1968, and it continues in her current role as a consultant on patient-centered vascular access and as a Kidney Health Initiative (KHI) Patient and Family Partnership Council member.

“It was newsworthy in 1968 when someone started dialysis,” Litchfield said. “I’m very pleased to say dialysis sustained his life for a long time. We lived overseas; have machine, will travel.”

Now, she wants to make

Bridget M. Kuehn

The final report from the American Board of Medical Specialties’ (ABMS) Continuing Board Certification: Vision for the Future Commission recommends shifting the focus of ongoing certification from high-stakes exams while still maintaining a role for ABMS’s 24 specialty boards in determining physicians’ certification status.

The final recommendations address one of the primary concerns ASN and other physicians’ organizations raised about basing a physician’s ability to continue practicing on a single high-stakes exam. Instead, it recommends ongoing formative assessments be combined with other data on a physician’s professional standing, continuing education, and practice improvement efforts in certification decisions. It also requires

Bridget M. Kuehn

More than 2 million individuals die worldwide each year because they don’t have access to renal replacement therapy, a recent Lancet study suggested (1). In many low- and middle-income countries, patients cannot afford or don’t have access to dialysis or transplant, said Peter Kotanko, MD, research director at the Renal Research Institute in New York.

“There is clearly a great unmet need,” Kotanko said. “The main reason why dialysis is not delivered in these areas is because of the high cost.”

Now, mathematical modeling data suggest that it may be possible to use a healthy volunteer’s

Bridget M. Kuehn

Experimental strategies that reduce cell death or reverse epigenetic changes in kidney cells are being studied to help protect the kidneys in patients with diabetes.

Treatment options for diabetic kidney disease have grown in recent years with the availability of 2 new classes of drugs, the sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT2) and the glucagon-like peptide 1 agonists (GLP1), noted a recent review in Nature Reviews Nephrology. These agents help lower a patient’s blood sugar levels and are used alongside renin angiotensin system inhibitors (RAS) and other traditional diabetes management methods.

Mark Cooper, PhD, head of the department of

Bridget M. Kuehn

Sexual dysfunction and fertility are major concerns for patients with kidney disease that are important for clinicians to discuss, according to Silvi Shah, MD, FASN, assistant professor of nephrology at the University of Cincinnati.

More than half of both male and female patients with kidney disease experience some form of sexual dysfunction, which can be linked to their disease or its treatment, noted Shah. Many also face concerns about fertility, and women may require counseling about pregnancy or contraception. Yet, many nephrologists feel ill-prepared to discuss women’s health and often neglect these conversations, according to the results of a survey

Bridget M. Kuehn

An epidemic of CKD among agricultural workers in different parts of the world has scientists searching for the potential cause. Among the chief suspects—although not the only one—is climate change–related heat stress.

As scientists work to verify whether climate change is contributing to the epidemic, concern about the potential health impacts of climate change around the world is growing. A 2017 report from the United Nations outlined the health risks associated with climate change, including increases in vector-borne diseases and extreme weather events, both of which can contribute to new kidney disease and put patients with existing kidney disease at