Kidney Research

The Trust is interested in sponsoring projects involved with both kidney research, and sport. We're now involved in sponsoring an intercalated degree program, committed to getting as many young medical students and doctors involved in renal research. . In 2017, we sponsored Adam Wild's degree at the University of Edinburgh. His research hopes to look at new ways of detecting kidney injuries in endurance athletes and will be completed in September 2018. Below is a summary of his proposal:

"Acute kidney injury (AKI) is an often-undetected condition where the kidneys sustain damage due to stress. Whilst reversible, AKI is associated with a longer-term risk of developing chronic kidney and cardiovascular disease. Thus, detecting AKI and monitoring patients longitudinally is beneficial.

Endurance sports, including ultra-marathon running and long-distance cycling, are becoming increasingly popular. In 2017 ~55% of entrants for the London Marathon had never run a marathon and 43% of applicants were women, compared to <5% in the first event in 1981. Similar figures are available for cycling.

Although generally beneficial, exercise induces systemic inflammation and may lead to AKI. Serum creatinine – the commonest measure of renal function – often increases after strenuous exercise. In one study, up to 80% of endurance athletes developed a significant decline in GFR [Lipman, Res Sports Med, 2014]. However, creatinine is a poor and indirect measure of renal injury. Using more specific, novel methods I intend to explore the development of AKI in endurance cyclists and runners."

Backed by the trust’s sponsorship, Adam Wild has been able to engage with a number of different areas of research associated with AKI (acute kidney injury). For example, he has designed a study to find new ways to detect AKI earlier for endurance athletes. This study involved taking a group of moderately trained athletes through an initial fitness test to establish a baseline of fitness and then 3 different exercise trials of varying durations and intensity. Blood and urine samples were taken at specific points before and after each exercise and then compared with baseline data. Adam then collaborated with another research group investigating a similar question, gave him experience of working collaboratively. As of today, the data collection phase has been completed and the final report will be submitted in October 2019. On top of this study, Adam has been completing a review of the literature published so far on the subject of AKI and has undertaken a mini investigation adjunct to the larger project. This investigation looked at whether an athlete’s choice of recovery drink after an event affects recovery rate (a faster recovery rate reduces the risk of AKI).

Adam’s tutor has said that these studies have the potential for publication and that Adam has ‘worked hard to develop his skills in both clinical and data research.’ The work has given him the opportunity to ‘develop skills in clinical research, including protocol design, patient recruitment and critical data appraisal and analysis.’ Adam has said that ‘these are skills that I would not have developed without being immersed in a strong research environment by this intercalated degree sponsorship.’

You can find out more about intercalated degree programs by clicking on the image below.