July 23, 2004
Antiretroviral drugs may block an enzyme that helps break down amyloid and insulin, according to another study presented at the conference (Burling, Philadelphia Inquirer, 7/23). Dr. Cristian Achim of the University of Pittsburgh and colleagues examined the brains of 160 people who had died of AIDS-related illnesses and who had used antiretroviral drugs. The researchers found that two-thirds of those studied had deposits of amyloid similar to the levels seen in people with Alzheimer's (Reuters, 7/22). The researchers found significant amounts of amyloid in the brains of patients who had used both older and newer antiretroviral drugs. Doctors treating HIV-positive people should be "especially careful" in monitoring patients for signs of dementia and diabetes, the researchers said (Philadelphia Inquirer, 7/23). "The current adult HIV patient population in the [United States] stands a good chance of surviving the virus, which means they will become affected by many of the disorders associated with later stages in life," Achim said, adding, "Although these results are preliminary, it is plausible to hypothesize that beta-amyloid brain deposits will only increase in the aging HIV population on prolonged anti-viral therapy." The researchers plan to test the hypothesis using brain imaging techniques to measure the accumulation of amyloid beta (Conference release, 7/22).
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2004 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.
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