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Homearrow News and Events Year 2010 HIV Ages the Brain Prematurely: Study

HIV Ages the Brain Prematurely: Study

HIV cuts down the blood supply to brain, prematurely aging it in an infected patient – a condition seen in normal patients 15 to 20 years older
HIV cuts down the blood supply to brain, prematurely ageing it in an infected patient – a condition seen in normal patients 15 to 20 years older.

“The greying of the AIDS patient community makes this infection’s effects on the brain a significant source of concern,” Assistant Professor of Neurology at Washington University Beau Ances said.

Prior studies of HIV infection’s long–term health effects have found the virus may adversely affect the heart, liver, endocrine system, skeleton and kidney, reports IANS.

A recent study of the overall health of the body found that HIV infection advances the body’s age by about 10 years.

HIV can lead to dementia in some patients, but quantifying the effects of HIV and ageing in the brain has been challenging.

“Patients are surviving into their senior years, and a number of them are coming forward to express concerns about problems they’re having with memory and other cognitive functions,” Ances said.

Epidemiologists estimate that 14 per cent to 18 per cent of all AIDS patients in the US are over 50 years old.

This age group also has one of the highest rates of new infection. If current trends continue, by the year 2015, their number will grow to more than 50 per cent of the overall patient population, a Washington University release says.

“We believe the virus crosses into the brain using infected immune cells,” Ances said. “Once in the brain, HIV doesn’t directly infect neurons but instead affects supporting cells that can release immune factors that harm neurons.”

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Source: iGovernment

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