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Reuters Health Information (2004-02-25): HIV and HCV independently cause psychomotor slowing


HIV and HCV independently cause psychomotor slowing

Last Updated: 2004-02-25 16:30:09 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Whether alone or in co-infection, both HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) can cause central nervous system (CNS) disturbances, according to researchers at Heinrich Heine University in Dusseldorf, Germany.

As lead investigator Dr. Hans-Jurgen von Giesen told Reuters Health, "not only HIV, but also HCV seems to affect the CNS in otherwise healthy patients, so that HIV/HCV co-infected patients have to be treated with a special emphasis on the CNS."

Dr. von Giesen and colleagues came to this conclusion following a study of 43 HIV-seropositive but HCV-seronegative patients, 43 HIV/HCV co-infected patients and 44 HIV-negative but HCV-positive patients.

Using neuropsychologic and electrophysiologic motor tests, the researchers found that compared to controls, those in all 3 groups showed significant pathological slowing of most rapid alternating movements of the right hand. Significantly prolonged contraction times were also seen in both hands.

In HIV/HCV co-infected patients simple reaction times were also significantly prolonged.

Given these similar findings, the researchers believe that there may be similar mechanisms at work in both diseases.

They suggest that the pathology should be further clarified by spectroscopic and molecular methods and, as Dr. von Giesen pointed out, "the long-term consequences of HCV infection of the brain have to be elucidated."

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2004;35:131-137.

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