A quarter of those with HIV have brain disorders, Canadian study finds

Published: September 29, 2010

Brain disorders may be almost commonplace among people infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, a startling new Canadian study has found.

One quarter of HIV-positive patients who took part in a 10-year Alberta study also suffer from neurological disorders, reports Chris Power, a neurology professor at the University of Calgary. The percentage of middle-aged Canadians with neurological disorders is just five per cent.

Power adds that HIV patients who suffer from brain disorders also face twice the risk of death compared to HIV patients without neurological diseases.

The study, reported in the international journal Neurology, studied 1,651 people with HIV treated at the Southern Alberta Clinic in Calgary between 1998 and 2008. The study team found that 404 people with HIV experienced neurological problems, including seizures, dementia, nerve pain in their hands and feet, memory loss, headaches, migraines, afflictions of the nervous system and movement disorders.

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