HIV/AIDS Discovery Shows How Wrong Assumptions Can Be
1/30/2014 @ 1:31PM
Common wisdom is difficult to overturn, even when it’s wrong.
The astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus discovered the earth is not the center of our universe. Physician Ignaz Semmelweis recognized that unwashed hands transmit disease. Albert Einstein found that time and space are relative.
We take these facts for granted today, but each discovery was initially rejected by critics. To change the course of history, each idea had to overcome the popular thinking of its time.
Today, the fields of science and medicine continue to evolve with new evidence disproving commonly accepted theories. Scientists recently upended one such assumption on the cause of disease progression in patients with HIV/AIDS.
What We Know About HIV/AIDS
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that slowly replicates and weakens the immune system. Those affected become highly vulnerable to infection and disease.
Scientists recognize that HIV attacks and destroys the “CD4+ T helper cells.” These cells are essential in helping fight off various infections.
A recent discovery on the progression of disease in people living with HIV/AIDS raises new questions about health care assumptions in America. (Image credit: Wikipedia)
Once the number of functional CD4+ T helper cells decreases, the diagnosis advances from HIV to AIDS. At that point, the risk of developing a life-threatening infection rises significantly.
If left untreated, the disease can progress to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and eventual death.
As yet, there is no cure for HIV, though antiretroviral treatment dramatically slows its course and reduces the risk of complications
Research institutions have worked tirelessly to understand HIV and find more effective treatments. As a result of major advances over the past 20 years, the annual mortality rate from AIDS-related complications in economically advanced countries is less than 2 percent.
Yet despite these successes, an estimated 35.3 million people across the world are living with HIV and approximately 1.6 million people died from HIV-related disease in 2012.
A New “Truth” About HIV/AIDS Has Potential To Save Many Lives
Until recently, clinicia
ns and scientists believed the human body went after the CD4+ T helper cells that were most infected by HIV. They assumed destroying the cells with the highest levels of the virus was the body’s way of trying to limit the disease.
It’s a logical conclusion. But new research contradicts this belief.
Immunologist Warner Greene and his laboratory group at the Gladstone Institutes discovered that – 95 percent of the time – the body destroys the less infected, resting cel
ls. Researchers don’t know why, but they were able to show that in the process of killing these relatively healthy cells, chemicals are released that attract more healthy cells to the scene, accelerating the destruction process.
And even though scientists can’t be sure why the body kills these relatively healthy cells, this information allowed them to identify a specific protein that contributes to this process.
Information taken from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertpearl/2014/01/30/hivaids-discovery-shows-how-wrong-assumptions-can-be/ and is for informational purposes only. Read the rest of the article at Forbes.com.http://beataids.org/new/2014/02/02/hivaids-discovery-shows-how-wrong-assumptions-can-be/http://beataids.org/new/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/latestnews.pnghttp://beataids.org/new/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/latestnews-150x150.pngLATEST NEWS!