Vol. 8 nº 1 - Jan/Feb/Mar de 2014
Original Article Páginas: 32 a 39

Executive function and processing speed in Brazilian HIV-infected children and adolescents

Authors Vitor Geraldi Haase1; Nelsa Carol Nicolau2; Virgínia Nunes Viana3; Gustavo de Val Barreto3-5; Jorge Andrade Pinto2


keywords: HIV, AIDS, neuropsychology, executive function, processing speed.

BACKGROUND: Cognitive disorders in infants and children who are vertically infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have been recognized since the inception of the epidemic. OBJECTIVE: The present study investigated neuropsychological performance in a cohort of vertically infected Brazilian children and adolescents who underwent antiretroviral therapy. The neuropsychological tasks were designed to evaluate executive function and processing speed. METHODS: Children and adolescents were recruited at a major research and treatment reference center for human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV) in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Forty-one individuals aged 5 to 17 years were enrolled. Twelve were mildly symptomatic (HIV-infected group, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] class A or B), and 29 had advanced clinical disease (AIDS group, CDC class C). RESULTS: The results showed that HIV-infected children and adolescents exhibited lower performance on neuropsychological tasks than sociodemographically comparable, typically developing controls. Motor and cognitive processing speed and executive function appeared to be the most discriminative domains. CONCLUSION: HIV-infected individuals with more-advanced disease stages exhibited lower performance levels and had greater performance heterogeneity on neuropsychological tasks. Thus, the observed neuropsychological impairments, although more pronounced in participants with more advanced stages of the disease, did not correlate with the variable used (CDC stage).


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