HIV May Age the Brain Prematurely

Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine have found that individuals who were tested positive for HIV may be prone from premature aging of the brain, either because of the infection itself, the treatment needed to control it, or both.

The study involves the use of magnetic resonance imaging scanners to study the brains of 26 HIV+ patients and 25 uninfected subjects.  The researchers have found that HIV patients have considerably lower amount of blood flowing through the brain compared to control respondents.  Also, the cognitive functions of HIV patients were equivalent to those of uninfected individual who were 15 to 20 years older.

Researchers discovered that declining brain function was more obvious among young, newly-infected patients as well as older individuals who have been dealing with HIV for some time.  Other long-term health effects of HIV include decreased functions in the liver, heart, kidneys, and endocrine system.

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