Hep C Ruled Out as Mental Impairment Cause in HIV

 “Hepatitis C infection has serious long-term side effects, such as damage to the liver, but our research indicates that it does not affect the brain.”

Advances in treatment for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have made it possible for people with HIV to survive much longer. As they age, however, many experience impaired thinking, memory loss, mood swings and other evidence of impaired mental function.
To stop these changes, scientists have to learn what is causing them. One possibility researchers are considering is that long-term infections with other pathogens, common in HIV-positive patients, are affecting the brain. But a new study has eliminated one of their prime suspects: the hepatitis C virus, which infects about one in every three HIV-positive patients in the United States.
The research, conducted by a team that includes scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, appeared Dec. 10 in Neurology.

Reference: Clifford DB, Vaida F, Kao Y-T, Franklin DR, Letendre SL, Collier AC, Marra CM, Gelman BB, McArthur JC, Morgello S, Simpson DM, Grant I, Heaton RK. Absence of neurocognitive effect of hepatitis C infection in HIV-coinfected people. Neurology. Dec. 10, 2014
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