July 6, 2016 – Premature Aging


Anchor lead: Men with HIV, even when controlled, seem to age faster than those who are not infected, Elizabeth Tracey reports

HIV infection is no longer the death sentence it was several years ago as long as viral loads remain low with medication, but men who are infected do seem to age faster than those who aren’t.  Now a new study looks at changes to DNA known as methylation as an explanation.  Joseph Cofrancesco, an HIV expert at Johns Hopkins, explains.

Cofrancesco: There’s still those few year differences that we’re looking at.  The question here is is there something about HIV that accelerates the aging process. And what’s very interesting about this study is it’s very basic science.  It looked at a method that is valid and accepted, and has clearly demonstrated that for men, there seems to be approximately a five year difference in chronologic age from those with HIV from those without.  :29

Cofrancesco says pinpointing this DNA change may shed light on normal aging also, with the potential for intervention down the road.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.