Wider Waistlines Linked To Mental Problems In HIV Patients

(BlackDoctor.org) — HIV-positive patients with larger waistlines may be at greater risk for memory problems, according to a new study. Exposure to combinations of certain anti-HIV drugs could play a role in this reduced mental function, researchers said.

“Interestingly, bigger waistlines were linked to decreased mental functioning more than was general obesity,” said study author Dr. J. Allen McCutchan, at the University of California, San Diego, in a journal news release. “This is important because certain anti-HIV drugs cause weight gain in the center of the body that is most dramatic in the abdomen, neck, chest and breasts.”

Researchers looked at 130 HIV-positive patients who were about 46 years old and who had been infected for an average of 13 years. Most patients were on antiretroviral therapy consisting of combinations of anti-HIV drugs.

Forty percent of the participants had “neurocognitive impairment” — reduced mental function such as poor memory and/or concentration. These patients also had a waist measuring an average of 39 inches.

In contrast, patients with normal mental function had an average waist size of 35 inches.