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Dev Neuropsychol. 2006;30(2):633-57.

Cognitive functioning in school-aged children with vertically acquired HIV infection being treated with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).

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HIV and AIDS Malignancy Branch, National Cancer Institute, 9030 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA.


In today's era of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), few children with HIV-1 infection experience severe central nervous system (CNS) manifestations indicative of encephalopathy. However, little is known about the neurocognitive strengths and weaknesses of HIV-infected children treated with HAART. This cross-sectional study is the first to systematically investigate the relation between cognitive functioning and medical markers in HIV-infected children and adolescents treated with HAART with varying levels of computed tomography (CT) brain scan abnormalities. The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Third Edition was administered to 41 vertically infected children (mean age = 11.2 years) treated with HAART for at least 1 year. Other procedures at the time of testing included CT brain scans and collection of CD4 cell counts and plasma HIV1 RNA PCR. Although global cognitive functioning among participants was in the Average range, children with minimal to moderate CT brain scan abnormalities scored significantly lower than children with normal scans on composite measures of cognitive functioning and five specific subtests, especially tasks involving executive functions. Furthermore, children with worse immune status (CD4+ counts < or = 500) scored lower on subtests measuring processing speed. Viral load was unrelated to cognitive test scores. Thus, children with HIV being treated with HAART remain at risk for developing CNS disease. Findings emphasize the importance of conducting neuropsychological assessments in this population, particularly for children with cortical atrophy and absolute CD4+ cell counts < or = 500.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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