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Author Topic: HIV effects on the brain  (Read 9263 times)

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Offline ThePerfectStranger

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HIV effects on the brain
« on: August 15, 2007, 05:07:57 PM »
AIDS virus is a "double hit" to the brain: study Wed Aug 15, 1:39 PM ET

The AIDS virus damages the brain in two ways, by not only killing brain cells but by preventing the birth of new cells, U.S. researchers reported on Wednesday.

The study, published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, helps shed light on a condition known as HIV-associated dementia, which can cause confusion, sleep disturbances and memory loss in people infected with the virus.

It is less common in people taking drug cocktails to suppress the virus, and why HIV damages brain function is not clearly understood.

The virus kills brain cells but it also appears to stop progenitor cells, known as stem cells, from dividing, the team at Burnham Institute for Medical Research and the University of California at San Diego found.

"It's a double hit to the brain," researcher Marcus Kaul said in a statement. "The HIV protein both causes brain injury and prevents its repair."

The cocktail of drugs known as highly active antiretroviral therapy or HAART that treats HIV does not infiltrate the brain well, allowing for a "secret reservoir" of virus, said Stuart Lipton, who worked on the study.

HIV-associated dementia is becoming more common, as patients survive into their older years.

Working in mice, the researchers found that the virus directly interferes with the birth of new brain cells from stem cells.

"The breakthrough here is that the AIDS virus prevents stem cells in the brain from dividing; it hangs them up," Lipton said. "It's the first time that the virus has ever been shown to affect stem cells."

The culprit is gp120 -- a protein found on the outside of the AIDS virus, the researchers found.

"Knowing the mechanism, we can start to approach this therapeutically," Lipton said.

"This indicates that we might eventually treat this form of dementia by either ramping up brain repair or protecting the repair mechanism," Kaul added.

Offline thunter34

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Re: HIV effects on the brain
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2007, 05:13:20 PM »

that personally explains a lot for me, unfortunately.

AIDS isn't for sissies.

Offline jack

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Re: HIV effects on the brain
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2007, 05:20:17 PM »
Nice to know. I am sure there will another several pills per day to combat this. I have given instructions to my wife,if I start to lose my sanity,if i havent already, to just shoot me or let me drink myself to death.
Now we all are gonna start imagining brain problems. Wait a minute,I do have brain problems. I keep making the same mistakes over and over.

Offline pozattitude

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Re: HIV effects on the brain
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2007, 05:52:23 PM »
well, at least I can say that the reason I am loosing my mind is NOT because I AM a POTHEAD...

I'll just use the line for Rick and Steve, and blame HIV for everything...

"My AIDS is acting up something fierce."

 (the "another" AIDS survivor)

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Offline JamieD

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Re: HIV effects on the brain
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2007, 10:46:24 PM »
Not everyone gets this. Some estimates say 15%, and others say 40%.

There has been some research into Lithium for treatment and prevention, but Lithium is so dirt cheap that there is no motivation for pharmacuetical companies to research it.


« Last Edit: August 15, 2007, 10:54:12 PM by JamieD »

Offline newt

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Re: HIV effects on the brain
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2007, 04:47:40 AM »
Perfect, thanks for an interesting paper.

On a point of etiquette, you also posted it in this thread in the Mental Health forum which is cross-posting, and discouraged. And posting the whole paper makes the threads kinda long n slow for us dial-up users (there are quite a lot of us here still). I personally find a summary plus a link to the original source more helpful (not least cos you can check the material and it avoids, er, those eternal questions of copyright infringement).

An interesting paper, nonetheless.

BBC report: HIV's double hit on brain cells 15 Aug 2007

- matt
« Last Edit: August 16, 2007, 05:02:02 AM by newt »
"The object is to be a well patient, not a good patient"

Offline denniss

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Re: HIV effects on the brain
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2007, 07:04:40 AM »
Damn! It just gets worse doesn't it! - she wasn't even good in bed!!!!

Offline ThePerfectStranger

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Re: HIV effects on the brain
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2007, 09:32:45 AM »
Hey Newt

Thanks for the tip - my apologies.

Dial up still exists??? LOL


Offline ThePerfectStranger

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Re: HIV effects on the brain
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2007, 09:50:00 AM »
btw thanks for that link to the BBC report - little better explanation of the process in their report then Reuters  (go figure)

Offline jupiter

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Re: HIV effects on the brain
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2007, 01:26:16 AM »
The article doesnt state at which stage of Infection the damage happens.  I asked my doc about this and he seems to think this can happen at the leter stages when the cd4 count is lower.  Is that correct?

Offline ThePerfectStranger

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Re: HIV effects on the brain
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2007, 09:30:30 AM »
That had sort of been my understanding as well but the new research SEEMS to indicate that some long term survivors are begininng to experience some of the same sorts of symptoms (confusion, memory loss, disorientation, etc).  I spoke to my doc as well about it and his response was more or less no one really knows for sure... the virus is so damn smart and tough to clear out of the organs that this may very well be the next hurdle for those of us who have been living with HIV long term.  I suppose the question now is what is the real cause of the increased erratic behaviour (for lack of a better term) - is it the disease, the toxic medications we ingest on a daily basis to stay alive, the psychological effects of living with this disease for so long and seeing so many of our loved ones die of it or a combination of some or all of the above?  To me, the natural conclusion to a question of that nature would obviously be a combination of all of the above. That being said however, we have to remind ourselves that we already know that this disease and the meds we take to control it often cause serious damage to many of our major organs and as everything being connected it would be absurd not to assume that eventually the effects would begin to damage our brains as well. Obviously we are facing a lot of new questions and problems in successfully treating HIV in the long term.  While I am grateful beyond words for the years I have been given thanks to these new drugs at the same time I am fearful of what they are doing to the rest of my body and mind in the long term .  At this point it seems like our health status is in a trade off sort of situation... take the meds now and live longer with the knowledge that we are much more likely to die at an earlier age than most from thing like liver diseases and cholesterol clogging our artieries until our hearts explodes due to the side effects of the meds or not do the treatments and hope we are among the lucky few "non-pogressors" in the world.  For me I'll stick to the meds but it's a bitch of a choice.  I think it's important as people with HIV that we focus on the implications of the long term effects of the meds we take and be aware of how to minimize their effects as well as insist on the investigation and research into more holistic naural medicines that may exist.

The battle has only just begun....

Offline Jake72

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Re: HIV effects on the brain
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2007, 12:43:25 PM »
Certainly the medications are toxic, and we definitely don't have all the answers.  However, with regard to side effects, fortunately, most of us are monitored on a fairly frequent basis for things like cholesterol, liver function, kidney function, etc., and if anything seems out of the ordinary, then there is usually some intervention (a change of medications or some approach to deal with the side effects).

So while side effects are clearly something we should be concerned about and trying to minimize, I don't know if it's really that hopeless.  If your cholesterol is rising, any doc worth his/her weight in salt isn't going to say 'well, it's just the meds, we can't do anything about it'...instead he/she would discontinue the responsible med, treat the cholesterol in addition to the HIV or give a referral for a qualified professional who would be able to treat it.  The issue is looking at the big picture and managing side effects, sometimes creatively.

Also, it's risky  to make future predictions based on what's available today.  HIV treatment will likely change very dramatically over the next few decades.  20 years ago, the only thing out there was AZT, given at alarmingly high doses.   It would have been unwise to make predictions about medical technology in 2007 back then.  Hopefully, in the future, the amount of toxic substances in the future is much less than it is today.

Offline newt

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Re: HIV effects on the brain
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2007, 01:06:46 PM »
Since some white blood cells are bad for the brain if present in volume, immune activation caused by HIV is probably responsible for some degree of neurological impact from day 1 of infection.  Whether this is important is a moot point, and is clearly not the only mechanism affecting brain function long term.

- matt (DEPRSSING HIMSELF) the newt
"The object is to be a well patient, not a good patient"

Offline NYCguy

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Re: HIV effects on the brain
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2007, 11:03:14 AM »
This brain stuff has been bugging me - this new research is very interesting (if disheartening).  My question is that if virus is controlled to undetectable or very low by haart, where is the free flowing virus coming from which is impacting the brain, since my understanding is the hiv can't directly infect brain cells (just affect them, as per the article).  We konw of course there is some low-level replication in the testes and intestines, but wouldn't there have to be virus replicating in the brain to affect it and if so, shouldn't haart then prevent dementia?  Someone else have a grip on this?
11/9/06 = #$%^&!
sometime early Dec 2006:
CD4 530 20%/VL >250,000 (&*$$%!!)
started Reyataz300mg/Norvir/Truvada 12-27-06.
1/30/07 CD4 540 30%/VL <400
4/07 CD4 600+ 33%/VL <50
6/9/07 CD4 720 37%/VL <50
10/15/07 CD4 891 (!) %? VL <50
1/2010 CD4 599 (37%) VL<50 (drop due to acute HCV)
9/2010 - looks like HCV is gone for good! And I'm finally drinking again, thank GOD
2013 - considering a switch to Stribild. but I love my Kidneys (but I hate farting all the time!)...
June 2013 - switched to Stribild.  so far so good...

Offline blondbeauty

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Re: HIV effects on the brain
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2007, 01:24:56 PM »
Come on...what harm can make HIV to my brain? I am a Blonde Flight Attendant. Could my brain be more damaged than it already is?
The only member in these forums approved by WINBA: World International Nail and Beauty Association.
Epstein Barr +; CMV +; Toxoplasmosis +; HIV-1 +.
Counts when starting treatment:
V.L.:80.200 copies. CD4: 25%=503
Started Sustiva-Truvada 14/August/2006
Last V.L.count (Oct 2013): Undetectable
Last CD4 count (OCT 2013): 52%= 933

Offline ThePerfectStranger

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Re: HIV effects on the brain
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2007, 11:56:20 AM »
LOL Blondbeauty your response gave me such a huge chuckle this morning!!  Thanks!  ;D

Offline LPinUK

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Re: HIV effects on the brain
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2007, 04:57:47 PM »
Now where have I left my car keys   :P
« Last Edit: August 20, 2007, 05:00:00 PM by LPinUK »
Diagnosed Poz September 2003, Current Regimen Truvada & Sustiva.


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