AIDS Dementia

Stephen Black sblack at UBISHOPS.CA
Tue Mar 25 10:30:12 EST 1997

On 17 Mar 1997, Laurie Davison wrote:

> Just a question...
>     I was discussing the work of Simon LeVay from a few years ago in 
> which he correlated the size of hypothalamic nuclei with sexual 
> orientation and a friend asked whether the results of the study might be 
> attributed to deterioration of the brain due to AIDS, which many of the 
> gay male subjects had died of. I told her that I thought it likely that 
> the dementia associated with advanced AIDS would be localized in areas 
> other than the hypothalamus, but the fact is, I just don't know. Can 
> anyone out there give me an opinion on this? Thanks!

It's a bit late for this, but since I don't think anyone else replied, 
here goes. According to Kalat (1995, p. 411), the possibility that the 
results are AIDS-related is an issue of concern. He points out that 
all 19 of the homosexual men and six of the 16 heterosexual men died of 
AIDS but that "the cause of death (AIDS vs. others) has no clear relation 
to the brain volumes" [INAH3 nucleus volume less in homosexuals]. Le Vay 
also reported on one homosexual man who did not die of AIDS, and INAH3 
was small in his case as well. 

Nevertheless, Kalat concludes: "Still, it would be helpful to examine 
more cases". I don't know whether AIDS itself is known toproduce
characteristic kinds of brain damage, an interesting question.


Kalat, J. (1995). Biological Psychology, 5th ed. Brooks/Cole.

Stephen Black, Ph.D.                      tel: (819) 822-9600 ext 2470
Department of Psychology                  fax: (819) 822-9661
Bishop's University                    e-mail: sblack at
Lennoxville, Quebec               
J1M 1Z7                                                                 

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