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Hiv/aids Impairs The Ability to Identify Facial Emotions in Others

Exposing new HIV/AIDS side effect.

People with HIV are less able to recognise facial emotion than non infected people says a study published in BMC physiology, reduction in their ability to recognise fear in others is linked to a similar loss in immediate recall, while those with a lower general neurocognitive performance also had a reduced ability to recognise happiness.

The mechanism behind recognition of facial emotions in complex, involving many different areas of the brain, including the frontostriatal pathway and amygdala. The frontostriatal pathway is essential for learning and behavioural adaption, while the amygdala is involved in memory and emotion. the loss of this ability can be debilitating, impacting daily life and personal interactions.

Comparing people with HIV to a control group without HIV, researchers in Rome discovered that from six basic expressions of emotions (disgust,anger,fear,happiness,surprise,sadness) that fear is the most difficult emotion to recognise. People with HIV were less accurate in identifying fearful expressions than the controls and also tended to have difficulties in immediate recall of words indication a link between the two. People with a higher number of AIDS related events, such as pneumonia, Kaposi’s sarcoma. or tuberculosis, and people with neurocognitive problems in memory, attention and decision making, language and speed of mental processing,  were less able to recognise happiness in others. DR eleonora baldonero, who led the study commented, ” The severity of HIV associated neurocognitive disorders has been significantly reduced thanks to combination antiretroviral therapy. Nevertheless our research highlights a link between cognition and facial recognition and that AIDS related events affect both. Understanding this on a individual level can help the long term personal management of HIV”

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