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HIV Protein Could Lead to Dementia

HIV Protein Could Lead to Dementia

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A key protein in HIV might interfere with the body's efforts to rid itself of a naturally occurring human protein that causes damage to brain cells and could lead to the development of dementia, according to a study presented at the International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease in July. Amyloid beta protein is naturally produced at increasing levels in people as they age, but a related enzyme, neprilysin, works to break down the protein. However, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, report that HIV's Tat protein blocks the effects of the enzyme, allowing the brain-damaging protein to build up over time. The longer a person is HIV-positive the more the protein builds up in the brain, regardless of whether antiretroviral drugs are being taken. The researchers suspect many HIV patients will show signs of slow memory loss as they age, and they recommend studies to see if Alzheimer's treatments may slow the development of HIV-related dementia.

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Ryan is the Digital Director of The Advocate Channel, and a graduate of NYU Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing. She is also a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. While her specialties are television writing and comedy, Ryan is a young member of the LGBTQ+ community passionate about politics and advocating for all.

Ryan is the Digital Director of The Advocate Channel, and a graduate of NYU Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing. She is also a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. While her specialties are television writing and comedy, Ryan is a young member of the LGBTQ+ community passionate about politics and advocating for all.