Tuesday, December 20, 2011New research by Eliseo Eugenin, Ph.D., may explain why half of all HIV patients experience memory loss and other neurological problems, a condition known as NeuroAIDS, despite taking antiretroviral therapies. Dr. Eugenin's study, published in the June 29 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience, indicates that a small group of supporting brain cells called astrocytes might be the key. In healthy people, these cells help maintain the blood-brain barrier, the network of blood vessels that protects the brain from harmful chemicals and toxins. The study suggests that when astrocytes are infected with HIV, it can lead to the brain being exposed to damaging toxins. Dr. Eugenin, the lead author, is assistant professor of pathology. Senior author Joan Berman, Ph.D. is professor of pathology and of microbiology & immunology.