More than half of people infected with the HIV virus say that they also drink heavily. Researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine looked into the effects of these factors on people's memory and fount that HIV and heavy drinking combined had a greater negative effect than either did separately. They studied 164 people; 40 of them had HIV, 38 had chronic alcoholism, 47 had HIV and chronic alcoholism and 39 were neither alcoholic nor HIV positive. Those participant who were both alcoholic and HIV positive had more trouble in learning new information and although their working memory was fine their episodic (autobiographical) memory was impaired. Episodic memory is linked to a part of the brain called the medial temporal lobe which is affected by both HIV and alcohol abuse.
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