HIV-Positive People Taking HAART Less Likely To Experience Brain Damage, Study Says
HIV-positive people taking highly active antiretroviral therapy are less 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.
Asa Mellgren of Goteborg University in Sweden and colleagues tested the cerebrospinal fluid of 53 HIV-positive men and women before providing them with HAART for one year. Before taking HAART, 21 of the study participants had high levels of the neurofilament light protein, which is believed to be linked with brain damage. After three months of treatment with HAART, almost half of the study participants who initially had high levels of NLP were found to have normal levels. After one year of HAART, only four participants had high levels of NLP, the researchers found.
In addition, of the patients who had normal NLP levels at the outset of the study, all but one had normal levels after one year. According to the researchers, the study also found a way to measure progressive brain damage among people living with HIV/AIDS.
HAART "appears to halt the neurodegenerative process caused by HIV," Mellgren said, adding that the study "confirms that NLP serves as a useful marker in monitoring brain injury in people with HIV and in evaluating the effectiveness of HAART" (Reuters, 10/8).
An abstract of the study is available online.