Study: No evidence of accelerated brain aging in people living with HIV who take ART
According to a study run in Amsterdam and London, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and cognitive testing showed no evidence of accelerated brain aging in people living with HIV who are also on antiretroviral therapy (ART).
The two-year study compared people who were HIV positive and on ART with a closely matched HIV-negative control group. The HIV positive group exhibited some differences from the HIV negative group at baseline, such as a slightly smaller volume of grey matter, abnormal white matter structure, and poorer cognitive function in 4 of the 7 neurocognitive domains (attention, processing speed, motor function and global cognitive performance).
However, ART prevented further differences from developing. At follow-up, the mean changes from baseline in all 14 of the regions scanned by MRI were not significant. There was also no consistent pattern of change in the HIV positive group as compared with the HIV negative group. The cognitive performance of the HIV negative group also did not decline over time.
Neurocognitive changes, especially those related to aging, are among the main concerns of HIV-positive people, so the results are important for those living with HIV. The study also provides evidence in support of universal ART, which is now recommended in treatment guidelines.