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HIV: HEAD AND NERVE PROBLEMS-SLOWED MENTAL PROCESSESS

Saturday, July 2, 2011 17:10
Posted in category HIV
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lowed mental processes, including forgetfulness, loss of recent memory (that is, the person can remember childhood experiences, but not the morning’s events), and difficulty concentrating, can be symptoms of AIDS dementia complex (ADC). ADC is a mental deterioration that accompanies HIV infection and has no other apparent causes. Other symptoms are irritability, social withdrawal, and apathy. Occasional symptoms are weakness in the legs or arms, tremor, poor coordination, and loss of balance. The onset of these symptoms can be either gradual or abrupt. ADC is found in 30 to 50 percent of people in the late stages of HIV infection; it occurs earlier in the course of HIV infection only rarely.     The cause of ADC is unknown. Evidence suggests the cause might be HIV in the brain: the cerebrospinal fluid that bathes the brain often shows evidence of HIV early in the course of the infection before the person shows any symptoms. The symptoms of ADC can also be caused by an opportunistic infection or tumor, and by depression.     People with HIV infection and these symptoms should see a physician, who will often consult a neurologist. Tests to diagnose ADC include tests of intellectual functioning; neurologic tests for coordination, strength, and reflexes; and MRI or CAT scans of the brain.     Treatment of ADC is usually a drug like AZT that inhibits HIV. In addition, stimulants like dextroamphetamine or methylphenidate (Ritalin) can counter apathy and lethargy.*134\191\2*

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