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AIDS Drugs May Protect Brain
Date:10/11/2007

egan treatment, the researchers found that levels of the so-called "neurofilament light protein" went down. Levels of the protein are considered to be an indicator of disease that causes the brain to degenerate.

Of the patients, 21 had high levels of the protein at the beginning of the study, suggesting they may have had brain damage. But the levels in about half of them dropped to normal levels after they took AIDS drugs for three months. After one year, only four people still had high levels of the protein.

"It is now possible to measure if the patients have signs of brain damage due to HIV by making a spinal tap, and it is also possible to monitor the changes of this marker during [treatment]," Mellgren said.

It is important to find markers that can indicate what's going on in the brain, said Lipton. However, cognitive tests are still needed to understand fully how a patient is doing, he said.

The study authors acknowledged that future research needs to include more extensive cognitive testing.

More information

Learn more about HIV from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



SOURCES: Asa Mellgren, M.D., Ph.D., researcher, Clinic of Infectious Diseases SAS, Boras, and Sahlgrenska Academy, Goteborg University, Goteborg, Sweden; Stuart Lipton, M.D., neurologist and researcher, Burnham Institute for Medical Research and University of California at San Diego; Oct. 9, 2007, Neurology


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