March #186 : Studying Risk Factors for Mental Decline - by Benjamin Ryan

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Achieving the End

Falling Through the Cracks

From the Editor

Let's Stay Together


Letters-March 2013


Opening New Doors

POZ Planet

Turn Up the Music


Country Remedy

Promoting PrEP

Native Talents

Bare Facts

All Dolled Up

Tickled Pink


The 360 Approach

Care and Treatment

See You in Six Months?

Studying Risk Factors for Mental Decline

Implementing Health Care Reform

Pregnant Women Struggling With Adherence

GMHC Treatment Issues March 2013

HPV Vaccine May Benefit Women With HIV

Research Notes

Prevention: Latino Epidemic Varies by Region

Treatment: Atripla vs. Stribild and Complera

Cure: A Cat-and-Mouse Vaccine Game

Concerns: Ex-Inmates Aren’t Retained in Care

POZ Survey Says

Listen to Your Heart

POZ Heroes

Farewell, Friend

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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March 2013

Studying Risk Factors for Mental Decline

by Benjamin Ryan

For the most part, high rates of cognitive impairment among people with HIV—including memory loss, difficulty concentrating and declining mental abilities—are due to the same factors that affect HIV-negative people. A recent French study examined 400 HIV-positive adults and found that 59 percent showed cognitive impairment, a rate similar to that found in other studies.

The researchers found that the main risk factors for cognitive impairment were advanced age, low education level, anxiety, depression, cardio vascular disease, high cholesterol and a history of brain damage.

 David M. Simpson, MD, director of the Neuro-AIDS Program at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, cautions, “One of the potential misinterpretations of these data is that all of the cognitive impairment that one encounters in HIV is due to all these other factors. And that’s just not the case.”

Simpson points out that the French study, after excluding all non-HIV-related risk factors, still found about a 10 percent rate of cognitive impairment. And that rate, he says, may even be a low estimate.

While this study could find no link between cognitive problems and viral load, CD4 count or the use of antiretrovirals, studies from the pre-ARV era found that those with poorly controlled HIV and depleted immune systems did have a greater risk of mental decline.

Search: HIV, HIV positive people, HIV negative people, cognitive impairment

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