The ComorBidity in Relation to AIDS (COBRA) project

Overview

People with HIV-infection are now living much longer thanks to combination anti-retroviral therapy (cART). However, older people with HIV appear to be at a higher risk of age-associated comorbidities, such as cognitive impairment, heart disease, frailty and potentially even dementia. COBRA is a large EU-funded collaborative project which aims to explore long-term changes in the brain and body associated with ageing in the context of HIV. Imperial College London is one of two sites, along with AMC Amsterdam, recruiting older HIV-positive individuals and carefully matched HIV-negative controls to take part in COBRA, with MRI scanning taking place at the CIF for both baseline and two-year follow-up assessments. Alongside neuroimaging, COBRA is collecting detailed neuropsychological, behavioural and clinical information as well as performing in-depth analysis of immunological, genetic and neurological markers in blood and CSF.

Initial analysis of the baseline data has been conducted, and the results show subtle difference in brain structure in HIV-positive individuals compared to controls, and that these differences relate to impairments in cognition.


Principal investigator


Researchers involved


Funding

  • EU Framework Programme 7

Figures

Reduced areas of grey matter volume in HIV-positive individuals compared to controls, using voxel-based morphometry (VBM)
Reduced areas of grey matter volume in HIV-positive individuals compared to controls, using voxel-based morphometry (VBM)

 

White matter fibre tract pathways reconstructed in an HIV-positive individual’s brain
White matter fibre tract pathways reconstructed in an HIV-positive individual’s brain