December 26th, 2012
Investigators from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs have found that HIV and hepatitis C virus co-infection is associated with an increased risk of cognitive impairment.
The study, published in the online edition of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, found that co-infection was associated with mild cognitive impairment and significantly poorer scores in a number of tests designed to assess cognitive function. The results are particularly interesting as all the men who had HIV and HCV co-infection had well-controlled HIV infection.
“We were able to detect a mild, yet significant impairment in cognition tests among the co-infected group,” wrote the investigators. “Co-infected subjects performed poorly on the attention, executive function, fine motor function and visual and verbal learning memory tests, with significantly lower…scores than either controls or mono-infected subjects.”
Infection with HIV alone has previously been associated with cognitive impairment. This is also the case with hepatitis C infection. However, it is currently unclear if co-infected people with well-controlled HIV infection and minimal liver damage caused by hepatitis C are at increased risk of impairment.
Photo by dierk scharfer