HealthDay News — The first case of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) diagnosed in a person with HIV suggests progressive dementia in older HIV+ individuals may be due to HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND), AD, or both. The case study was published online April 14 in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring.
The patient — a 71-year-old man — was diagnosed after a medical scan revealed amyloid deposition in his brain. Until now, it was believed that HIV-related inflammation in the brain might prevent the formation of such deposition and thereby protect these patients from Alzheimer’s.
“HIV infection does not preclude central nervous system Aβ/amyloid deposition,” the authors wrote. “Amyloid positron emission tomography imaging may be of value in distinguishing HAND from AD pathologies.”
“This patient may be a sentinel case that disputes what we thought we knew about dementia in HIV-positive individuals,” study author R. Scott Turner, MD, of the Memory Disorders Program at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC, said in a university news release.
The case also suggests that some older patients with HIV and dementia may be misdiagnosed with HIV-associated brain disorders, but actually have Alzheimer’s disease. It’s also possible that some older patients with HIV have both HIV-associated brain disorders and Alzheimer’s, according to Turner.
Turner RS, Chadwick M, Horton WA, Simon GL, Jiang X, Esposito G. An individual with human immunodeficiency virus, dementia, and central nervous system amyloid deposition. Alzheimers Dement. 2016; doi:10.1016/j.dadm.2016.03.009.