HIV-Positive People Taking HAART Less Likely To Experience Brain Damage

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HIV-positive people taking highly active antiretroviral therapy areless likely to experience brain damage associated with the virus,according to a study published in the Oct. 9 issue of the journal Neurology, Reuters reports.

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Asa Mellgren of Goteborg Universityin Sweden and colleagues tested the cerebrospinal fluid of 53HIV-positive men and women before providing them with HAART for oneyear. Before taking HAART, 21 of the study participants had high levelsof the neurofilament light protein, which is believed to be linked withbrain damage. After three months of treatment with HAART, almost halfof the study participants who initially had high levels of NLP werefound to have normal levels. After one year of HAART, only fourparticipants had high levels of NLP, the researchers found.

Inaddition, of the patients who had normal NLP levels at the outset ofthe study, all but one had normal levels after one year. According tothe researchers, the study also found a way to measure progressivebrain damage among people living with HIV/AIDS.

HAART "appearsto halt the neurodegenerative process caused by HIV," Mellgren said,adding that the study "confirms that NLP serves as a useful marker inmonitoring brain injury in people with HIV and in evaluating theeffectiveness of HAART" (Reuters, 10/8).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser DailyHIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . TheKaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service ofThe Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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