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Morphine, Heroin Protect Against HIV Dementia

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posted on Apr, 16 2010 @ 11:56 AM
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Drug Shared by Addicts Seems to Protect Against HIV Brain Dementia




ScienceDaily (Apr. 16, 2010) — To their surprise, researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) have discovered that morphine (a derivate of the opium poppy that is similar to heroin) protects rat neurons against HIV toxicity -- a finding they say might help in the design of new neuroprotective therapies for patients with the infection.
The discovery, being presented at the annual meeting of the Society of NeuroImmune Pharmacology, also helps explain why a subset of people who are heroin abusers and become infected with HIV through needle sharing don't develop HIV brain dementia. This brain disorder includes cognitive and motor abnormalities, anxiety and depression.

www.sciencedaily.com...
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"Needless to say we were very surprised at the findings," he added. "We started with the opposite hypothesis -- that heroin was going to destroy neurons in the brain and lead to HIV dementia."

The researchers conducted the study because they knew that a number of HIV-positive people are also heroin abusers, and because of that, some are at high risk of developing neurological complications from the infection. Others, however, never develop these cognitive problems, Mocchetti says.


This by the way doesn't say anything about opiates protecting against the immunosupressing traits of HIV, just that it seems to prevent dementia related to the virus. Still I thought it was a really interesting article.




posted on Apr, 16 2010 @ 12:12 PM
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Originally posted by webpirate

Drug Shared by Addicts Seems to Protect Against HIV Brain Dementia





Apart from being addicting I dont believe that opium and its derivatives
have any harmful effects on the body. There are cases of doctors being
addicted to morphine for 30+ years and still healthy and functioning.
The problems from opiates result from injecting it,contaminated needles and contaminated drugs,and not knowing the strength which results in overdoses.

The War on Drugs is a War on People.-Timothy Leary

[edit on 16-4-2010 by RRokkyy]

[edit on 16-4-2010 by RRokkyy]



posted on Apr, 16 2010 @ 12:15 PM
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Having seen several people messed up on heroin in the past, this really IS surprising that it could stave off dementia of any kind. Interesting study. Nice find.



posted on Apr, 16 2010 @ 12:21 PM
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Opioids often give significant relief to some sufferers of depression, with the only drawback being the development of tolerance over a given period of time...There is clearly something going on there with brain chemistry and/or structure...

Having said that, I'm not surprised that opioids in this case have shown to be protective of neurons in HIV sufferers also addicted to heroin...



posted on Apr, 16 2010 @ 12:21 PM
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reply to post by webpirate
 

Interesting!
I'm taking notes on a SA published book that won the Alan Paton Lit prize in 2006: Aidsafari by Adam Levin. He had various infections and cancers from Aids and treatment side-effects. Yet, he only became addicted to Morphine tablets during his treatment, but his brain seemed unaffected.
As far as street drugs go, alcohol is more brain-damaging, and heroin addicts are less likely to abuse alcohol.
Heroin addicts run other risks, but heroin affects the brain less than alcohol.
I would be very surprised if the test showed up similar results in other studies.



[edit on 16-4-2010 by halfoldman]



posted on Apr, 16 2010 @ 12:33 PM
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reply to post by webpirate
 

I think that before one talks of "neuron protective" agencies in one substance, one should first rule out all socio-medical possibilities.
Heroin addicts can remain "clean" after infection, and society avoids them.
Other HIV-positive men may continue to have sex and social lives for over a decade before they present with Aids, with all kinds of cross-infection.



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