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Anxiety affects cognitive skills in midlife women with HIV



New York, Feb 9: In midlife women with HIV, anxiety stands out as having the greatest impact on thinking skills, shows new research.

HIV infection is associated with modest deficits in multiple domains of cognitive function, even in women who regularly take their HIV medications.

Anxiety particularly affects verbal learning skills so treating anxiety may be key to improving the lives of midlife women with HIV.

"These depression and anxiety symptoms add to those cognitive vulnerabilities but can be treated," said Pauline M. Maki from University of Illinois at Chicago.

Hot flashes, depression and most of all, anxiety, affect the thinking skills of midlife women with HIV.

To understand this, the researchers studied data on 708 HIV-infected and 278 HIV-uninfected midlife women.

They found that the menopause-related thinking deficiencies are modest, limited to the time leading up to menopause and rebound after menopause.

"Mental processing speed and verbal memory were more related to depression, anxiety and hot flashes in both HIV-infected and healthy women than the stage of menopause," explained the study.

It meant that menopause stage found to have little effect on cognitive abilities, said the study published in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).


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