#3: MRI Scans Can Help Identify HIV Persistence in the Brain After Treatment
HIV spreads to the brain in some infected patients, and can only be detected using invasive methods. However, new findings from University College London (UCL) may change the game.
According to Ravindra K. Gupta, professor of infection and immunity at UCL, honorary consultant in infectious diseases at The Hospital for Tropical Diseases, UCLH Foundation Trust, and senior author of the study, detecting HIV in the brain is significant because, before treatment was available to stop the progression of infection to AIDS, many individuals who reached this stage often suffered from dementia, “and other problems in the brain.” In addition, researchers from University of California, San Francisco note that HIV can also have harmful effects on the central nervous system. Although antiretroviral therapy has helped decrease the prevalence of HIV-associated dementia, neurocognitive disorders are still common among HIV patients. In addition, Dr. Gupta explained that, HIV spreads to the brain in 10% to 15% of patients, “but in most cases the symptoms are down to other causes.”
Now, however, researchers from UCL recently published a study in Clinical Infectious Diseases
which outlines how MRI scans can be used to detect if the HIV virus is present in brains of patients who are receiving “effective drug treatment.” Prior to this finding, HIV was detected in brains using lumbar puncture. This method involves “inserting a needle into the back to draw out the spinal fluid and test it for HIV,” which requires patients to stay in the hospital for hours.
Read more about how MRI scans can be used to detect HIV in the brain here
#2: Spring Surge in Flu Activity Hits New England
A late surge in influenza activity in New England may have affected your favorite baseball team.
Although the major flu strain in circulation this year has been influenza A (H3N2), some states have reported a rise in influenza B cases. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that more than half of flu cases in the thirteenth week of the season were influenza B cases.
While the flu season did wind down in the rest of the country, two states continued to see an increase in influenza B activity, with thousands of cases being lab-confirmed. In addition, 9 players for a Major League Baseball team were sidelined due to the severity of their illness.
Healthcare experts recommended individuals in New England continue to receive the flu vaccine, even as the season comes to an end.
To read more about the flu and the affected baseball players, click here