HIV dementia study seeks participants

Friday, 30 September 2011 - 12:00pm

A new study investigating the link between HIV infection and dementia is seeking participants.

Because of the success of antiretroviral therapy, many HIV+ individuals are now reaching their 50s and 60s. There has been some suggestion that long-term HIV infection may be associated with developing degenerative brain diseases similar to Alzheimer's disease.

In conjunction with St Vincent's Hospital and the University of New South Wales, Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) is conducting a study to estimate the prevalence of memory and concentration difficulties in older individuals with long-term HIV infection.

Led by Dr Lucette Cysique, the study will also determine the means (if any) by which long-term HIV infection contributes to the incidence of an illness like dementia.

The study will pay particular attention to high cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease, as both are common in older people with HIV (as a result of advancing age, HIV disease itself and antiretroviral treatment) and are risk factors for developing dementia.

The study will use a number of tests, such as MRI, to look for evidence of cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease, and to rule out causes of cognitive decline other than HIV (such as cardiovascular disease or a genetic propensity towards developing the disease).

Dr Lucette Cysique is currently recruiting HIV negative men 45 years and older to participate in the study. Please contact Dr Cysique via email: lcysique@unsw.edu.au or on 0431 576 710 for more information.

Read a related story in the Sydney Star Observer

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