Fat Marker Predicts Cognitive Decline in People With HIV, Johns Hopkins University Study  
9/12/2013 7:09:01 AM

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Johns Hopkins scientists have found that levels of certain fats found in cerebral spinal fluid can predict which patients with HIV are more likely to become intellectually impaired. The researchers believe that these fat markers reflect disease-associated changes in how the brain metabolizes these fat molecules. These changes disrupt the brain cells' ability to regulate the activity of cells' "garbage disposals" meant to degrade and flush the brain of molecular debris. In this case, too much cholesterol and a fat known as sphingomyelin build up in the lysosomes — the garbage disposals — backing up waste and leading to often debilitating cognitive declines.

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