Sunday, September 25, 2016

Neurological Complications of AIDS

      As with any disease, AIDS not only effects the body, but it also has an effect on how the brain works. One of the many downfalls of this is that neurological damage (damage on the brain) can never be reversed. It's a "Once done, always done," kind of deal. There are many ways AIDS has an effect on the brain, some of these include: seizures, headaches, forgetfulness, lack of coordination, coma, learning disabilities, etc. At first, the effects may be minor, but they can become life altering.

      There are so many ways AIDS infects the brain, so many, I can not name them all. However, many of the reoccurring effects of the disease are sicknesses. At first, the sickness will seem like an ordinary flu bug. As an example, many people will get "chickenpox", take the medications for it, but never get better. It is at that point where doctors will perform deeper examinations and are able to  determine the illness, called herpes zoster virus, is the perpetrator. This virus poisons the brain and causes it to produce encephalitis and myelitis (inflammation of the spinal cord). This virus is only one of many that cause the brain to malfunction and cause inflictions upon the infected body.

      Another common form of infection is AIDS dementia complex (ADC). What is ADC? It a form of dementia that can be fatal if left untreated. Symptoms of ADC include the following: encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), changes in behavior, and a progressive decrease in cognitive functions, (complications with concentration, memory and attention span). Infected parties can show lack of motor functions and loss of dexterity, as well as, coordination. ADC, when left untreated can be fatal, even when anti-retroviral programs are used. Again, this is only one of many neurological complications of AIDS.

      In my opinion, there are too many unknowns with AIDS. For example, scientists are still unable to find a cure for the disease. Sure people could abstain from all sex, but what about the children who  are born with it? If researchers could find a cure, or even a way to 'put to sleep', some of the more severe side effects, such as the ones spoken about above, huge progress would be made. There needs to be mandatory testing for AIDS for people who have 'common colds'. If the disease is caught in the early stages, maybe the more severe side effects could be avoided, and lives could be saved.

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