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April 17, 2010

Morphine May Protect Brains of People With HIV

"The painkiller morphine may help protect against HIV-associated dementia, says a new study.

"Georgetown University Medical Center researchers found that morphine protected rat neurons from HIV toxicity, a discovery that could lead to the development of new drugs to treat people with HIV-related dementia, which causes depression, anxiety and physical and mental problems.

"'We believe that morphine may be neuroprotective in a subset of people infected with HIV,' lead investigator Italo Mocchetti, a professor of neuroscience, said in a Georgetown news release.

"He and his colleagues conducted the study because they knew that some people with HIV who are heroin users never develop HIV brain dementia. Morphine is similar to heroin."

Read more:, April 16, 2010.