HEAVY ALCOHOL USE IMPACTS BRAIN FUNCTION IN HIV+ OLDER ADULTS

There is concern about the effect of alcohol on the health of adults with HIV. In 104 HIV+ adults a study compared cognitive performance on a test with information about current heavy drinking, lifetime alcohol use, as well as data on age, substance use, and HIV clinical factors.

Those who reported current heavy drinking and high past use of alcohol showed the most cognitive deficits in various areas.  Older age was also associated with poor cognitive performance. Both age and lifetime alcohol intake surpassed clinical factors or substance abuse in the effect on cognition.

Excessive past alcohol use was the major factor affecting cognitive performance. However, the negative effect of present alcohol use on cognition emphasizes the need for programs to confront excessive alcohol intake.

Cohen, R. A., et al. (2019). “Heavy Alcohol Use and Age Effects on HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Function.” Alcohol Clin Exp Res 43(1): 147-157.