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Medical News

NIH Allocates Funds to Study Drugs That Might Prevent Cognitive Dysfunctions Among HIV-Positive People

October 4, 2006

NIH is funding a recent effort aimed at studying drugs that might prevent dementia and other cognitive dysfunctions among HIV-positive people, a condition also known as "neuroAIDS," the AP/ABC News reports. At least one in five HIV-positive people experiences memory loss and other cognitive dysfunctions that can occur when the virus affects the brain, and the number is increasing as HIV-positive people live longer. According to the AP/ABC News, HIV can enter into the brain soon after transmission, but current antiretroviral drugs often prevent the onset of cognitive dysfunction symptoms among most HIV-positive people until four years before death. Harris Gelbard, a neurologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center, is part of the NIH-funded effort aimed at finding treatments that can prevent the effects of HIV on the brain. Gelbard said he estimates the condition reduces the mental function of an HIV-positive person by 25%. "HIV is the commonest cause of cognitive dysfunction in young people worldwide," Justin McArthur, vice chair of neurology at Johns Hopkins University, said, adding, "There's no question it's a major public health issue." Kathy Kopnisky of the National Institute of Mental Health said that HIV-positive people are "living longer with HIV in the brain ... [a]nd they're aging, so they're going through the normal brain aging-related processes" that can leave them susceptible to Alzheimer's and other brain degenerating diseases. NIMH is spending $60 million to research the effects of HIV on the brain. NIH-funded efforts are focused on discovering which antiretrovirals best treat HIV-positive people with memory problems, as well as which drugs protect nerve cells against the inflammation-related effects of HIV, the AP/ABC News reports (Neergaard, AP/ABC News, 10/2).

Back to other news for October 4, 2006


Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2006 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.



  
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
 
See Also
Neurological Complications of AIDS Fact Sheet
More on Neurological and Neurocognitive Complications of HIV/AIDS

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