PET Assisted HIV Dementia Mechanism Discovery
Using positron emission tomography (PET), scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory have discovered a key mechanism in the brains of people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) dementia. They provide evidence of dopamine terminal injury, specifically injury to dopamine transporters, in HIV dementia patients. The study is the first to document decreases in the neurotransmitter dopamine in those with the condition, and may lead to new, more effective therapies. HIV dementia is a type of cognitive decline that is more common in the later stages of HIV infection. The study appears in the September 2004 issue of the British scientific journal Brain. Brookhaven physician Gene-Jack Wang is the study’s lead author.