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HIV reduces brain
tissue

HIV reduces brain
tissue

Even when HIV viral levels are controlled through antiretroviral therapy, the virus can still damage certain types of brain tissue, researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Pittsburgh report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The scientists used 3-D magnetic resonance imaging on the brains of 26 HIV-positive and 14 HIV-negative people, discovering that the HIV patients had 10% to 15% less brain tissue in regions controlling language, movement, and feeling. Antiretroviral drug therapy had no impact on brain tissue loss, the researchers determined; all HIV patients lost brain mass.

"Even though antiretroviral drugs rescue the immune system, AIDS is still attacking the brain," lead researcher Paul Thompson told The [London] Daily Telegraph. "A protective blood barrier prevents drugs from entering the brain, transforming it into a reservoir where HIV can multiply and attack cells unchecked." (Advocate.com)

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