Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

HIV Infection And Chronic Drinking Have A Synergistic, Damaging Effect On The Brain

Date:
July 24, 2009
Source:
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research
Summary:
At least half of clinic patients with the human immunodeficiency virus report they also drink heavily. Findings show that co-existing HIV infection and chronic alcoholism synergistically damage brain function. Specifically, immediate episodic memory was impaired, while working memory remained intact.

More than half of clinic patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) report they also drink heavily. While highly active antiretroviral therapy has helped to reduce HIV-related cognitive and motor deficits, neuropsychological deficits may continue and even be exacerbated by alcohol. A study of memory deficits has found that HIV infection and chronic alcoholism have synergistic, damaging effects on brain function.

Results will be published in the October issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

"It has been consistently documented that chronic heavy drinking results in cognitive and motor deficits, particularly impairments in component processes of executive functions, memory, visuospatial abilities, and speed of cognitive processing and motor movements," said Edith V. Sullivan, professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine and corresponding author for the study. "Chronic heavy drinking co-occurring with HIV infection is highly prevalent, and the separate and combined untoward effects on the brain and its processes can be significant and disruptive of activities of daily living."

This prevalence exists despite considerable educational and prevention programs regarding both HIV and alcoholism, added Sara Jo Nixon, a professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Florida. "Furthermore, their comorbidity constitutes an even greater health concern with implications for treatment adherence, work and interpersonal skill maintenance."

Sullivan and her colleagues examined working and episodic memory in four groups (n=164) – 40 individuals with HIV (28 men, 12 women), 38 with chronic alcoholism (24 men, 14 women), 47 with both HIV and chronic alcoholism (38 men; 9 women), and 39 "normal" controls (22 men, 17 women) – at baseline and then again at a one-year follow-up. Measures included accuracy scores, response times, and rate of information processing.

"Individuals who are both positive for HIV and have a history of chronic heavy drinking are at greater risk than individuals with only one of these conditions to have trouble learning new information," said Sullivan. "This difficulty in new learning can affect an individual's ability to use information important to the successful completion of personal and work-related activities."

"Too frequently, when widespread deficits are associated with disease, the need to disentangle underlying interacting processes is overlooked," said Nixon. "Specifically, Sullivan and her colleagues' ability to identify a particular component of memory, 'episodic,' as being impaired, while another, 'working,' is spared supports the continued to need construct studies which provide explicit contrasts among subprocesses which may be inappropriately grouped under a broad superordinate category." In other words, she said, specific damages were "cloaked" by overall damage prior to this study.

"Immediate episodic memory is dependent on intact medial temporal lobe systems that have been shown to be affected in both HIV infection and chronic alcoholism," explained Sullivan, "whereas working memory is primarily associated with more frontally based systems that may not be as severely effected at this moderate stage of disease. Results showed that individuals were able to retain information over time, which suggests that retrieval of information was intact, whereas lower scores on immediate memory suggested that difficulties were associated with ability to learn, or encode, information."

"The immediate real-world and clinical impact of this study is considerable," observed Nixon. "The data suggest that specific interventions for enhancing the process of encoding or learning new information, such as prescription regimens, should be employed to enhance treatment outcomes as well as work and interpersonal situations. If individuals are aware and engage in 'encoding-rich' strategies, overall quality of life and adaptation may be enhanced."

Nixon also noted that questions have been raised regarding the impact of anti-retrovirals on the brain. "While these medications can effectively control obvious markers of HIV, indirect measures on neurocognitive function are less clear," she said. "There is a need to examine this behavioral/biochemical dissociation."

This release is supported by the Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Rosemary Fama, Margaret J. Rosenbloom, B. Nolan Nichols and Adolf Pfefferbaum. Working and Episodic Memory in HIV Infection, Alcoholism, and their Comorbidity: Baseline and 1-Year Follow-Up Examinations. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, October 2009

Cite This Page:

Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. "HIV Infection And Chronic Drinking Have A Synergistic, Damaging Effect On The Brain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090723175425.htm>.
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. (2009, July 24). HIV Infection And Chronic Drinking Have A Synergistic, Damaging Effect On The Brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090723175425.htm
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. "HIV Infection And Chronic Drinking Have A Synergistic, Damaging Effect On The Brain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090723175425.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins