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Brain Imaging Behav. 2012 Sep;6(3):366-73. doi: 10.1007/s11682-012-9149-4.

Functional connectivity measured with magnetoencephalography identifies persons with HIV disease.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


There is need for a valid and reliable biomarker for HIV Associated Neurocognitive Disorder (HAND). The purpose of the present study was to provide preliminary evidence of the potential utility of neuronal functional connectivity measures obtained using magnetoencephalography (MEG) to identify HIV-associated changes in brain function. Resting state, eyes closed, MEG data from 10 HIV-infected individuals and 8 seronegative controls were analyzed using mutual information (MI) between all pairs of MEG sensors to determine whether there were functional brain networks that distinguished between subject groups based on cognition (global and learning) or on serostatus. Three networks were identified across all subjects, but after permutation testing (at α < .005) only the one related to HIV serostatus was significant. The network included MEG sensors (planar gradiometers) above the right anterior region connecting to sensors above the left posterior region. A mean MI value was calculated across all connections from the anterior to the posterior groupings; that score distinguished between the serostatus groups with only one error (sensitivity = 1.00, specificity = .88 (X ( 2 ) = 15.4, df = 1, p < .01, Relative Risk = .11). There were no significant associations between the MI value and the neuropsychological Global Impairment Rating, substance abuse, mood disorder, age, education, CD4+ cell counts or HIV viral load. We conclude that using a measure of functional connectivity, it may be possible to distinguish between HIV-infected and uninfected individuals, suggesting that MEG may have the potential to serve as a sensitive, non-invasive biomarker for HAND.

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