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AIDS is Advanced Aging ...some history

James Howard jmhoward at sprynet.com
Sat Sep 6 08:16:42 EST 1997


AIDS is Advanced Aging ...some history
James Howard

I have long thought that "AIDS" is really symptoms, including AIDS 
dementia, produced by severe loss of DHEA.  It is known that DHEA begins 
to decline soon after age 20, and declines to very low levels in old 
age.  I, and others, think that this loss of DHEA results in aging.  I 
have often compared AIDS to advanced aging.  August 17, 1992, I sent a 
letter to EA Nunez, the last author of the quotation below, that 
included this statement:  "I intend to demonstrate to you that DHEA is 
directly involved in immune system function, and that reduced DHEA leads 
to vulnerability to the HIV and the severely reduced DHEA results in 
AIDS, whether or not induced by the HIV."  December 7, 1992, Nunez 
responded to my letter.  His letter included: "I have read your thesis 
with great interest.  It is reassuring that our laboratory data can be 
integrated into such a broad theoretical framework as the one you 
propose.  Rest assured that your thesis will be taken into account in 
our interpretation of future experimental data.  It is perhaps 
infortunate that we, who spend much of our time with experimental 
manipulations do not always appreciate the broader, integrated view of 
theoretical biology."

Psychoneuroendocrinology 1997;22 Suppl 1:S11-S18, "Serum cortisol and 
DHEA concentrations during HIV infection," Christeff N, Gherbi N, Mammes 
O, Dalle MT, Gharakhanian S, Lortholary O, Melchior JC, Nunez EA

'The progression of HIV infection is accompanied by severe 
immunodepression and cachexia, particularly during advanced stages. The 
immune depression is due largely to a dramatic drop in the number of CD4 
cells. The loss of body weight is mainly due to a reduced fat-free mass 
with no change in adipose tissue. We determined the serum concentrations 
of cortisol and DHEA and their correlations with absolute CD4 cell 
counts and changes in body weight of HIV-positive men. The results of 
five retrospective and prospective studies indicate that the serum 
concentrations of cortisol and DHEA in HIV-infected patients were 
different from those of HIV-negative controls. Serum cortisol was 
elevated at all stages of infection (+20 to +50%, p < .05 to p < .001) 
particularly in AIDS patients (stage IV C). In contrast, the serum DHEA 
concentrations were closely correlated with the stage of HIV-infection, 
being higher in the early stages (stages II and III or > 500 CD4) than 
in advanced stages (IV C or < 500 CD4)-in the latter being below those 
of HIV-negative men-or in controls (+40 to 100%, p < .01 to p < .001).  
There was a negative linear correlation between the CD4 cell counts and 
cortisol (r = -0.4, p < .02) and a positive linear correlation with DHEA 
(r = +0.36, p < .01). There was no significant correlation between delta 
body weight and serum cortisol. In contrast, there was a negative 
correlation between serum DHEA and delta body weight (%) (r = -0.69, p 
<.0001) and a positive correlation with the cortisol/DHEA ratio 
(r=+0.61, p < .0001). There is thus a link between the circulating 
concentrations of adrenal steroids and the progression of 
immunosuppression and cachexia during HIV-infection. This raises the 
question of whether there is a cause-and-effect relationship between 
clinical progression and circulating steroid concentrations. Further 
investigations into the relationship between the ratio cortisol/DHEA and 
the immune response and cachexia should indicate the contributions of 
these steroids to the etiology of HIV infection and lead to the 
development of new therapeutic strategies."



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