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HAART Protects the Brain From AIDS-Related Degeneration

HAART Protects the Brain From AIDS-Related Degeneration

BORAS, Sweden, Oct. 8 -- Keeping HIV at bay with highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) may also forestall AIDS-related neurodegeneration, investigators have found.

Levels of neurofilament light protein in cerebrospinal fluid, a marker for brain injury, were significantly reduced after one year of HAART in 17 of 21 HIV-infected patients with high baseline amounts of the marker, reported Asa Mellgren, M.D., Ph.D., of the Clinic of Infectious Diseases SAS here, and colleagues in the Oct. 9 issue of Neurology.

Anti-retroviral therapy also appeared to prevent neurodegenerative changes for at least one year in 31 of 32 patients with normal baseline levels of neurofilament light protein in CSF, the researchers found.

The investigators had previously shown that levels of neurofilament light protein were significantly increased in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with AIDS dementia complex, and that the levels correlated with severity of neurologic symptoms. They had also showed that in some neurologically asymptomatic patients with low CD4 T-cell counts, neurofilament light protein levels were only slightly elevated.

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