According to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health of the United States (NIH) and published in the Journal of Adolescent Health (Journal of Adolescent Health in free translation from English)More than two-thirds of young adults with HIV would present asymptomatic cognitive deterioration that, while not interfering with the daily activities, could affect several cognitive domains such as memory or motor skills. The risk of developing such complications would be reduced while maintaining good control of infection and to avoid heavy drinking.
Neuro-cognitive deterioration associated with HIV has been an important topic of study in recent years (see La Noticia delDía 16 / 07 / 2013), given its high incidence and how it can affect the quality of life of people who suffer from it. However, until the present study, this complication had not been investigated in young adults. Considering that this group is affected by more than a third of the new infections, investigating the presence of neuro-cognitive deterioration in this age group was a relevant social need.
To clarify this point, the researchers counted on the participation of 200 young adults with HIV, aged between 18 and 24 years. The participants were not undergoing treatment antiretroviral and had been diagnosed with the infection during the two years prior to their inclusion in the trial.
All participants took a battery of tests that assessed various neuro-cognitive areas such as memory, attention, different motor skills (coordination, balance, etc.) and verbal ability and reading. We also included questions about the use of recreational drugs and healthy habits.
67% of the study participants had neuro-cognitive impairment, which in 96% of cases were asymptomatic. The areas most affected were memory and motor skills.
Na multivariable analysis by researchers, factors such as having a low CD4Have been growing period after diagnosis of infection HIV and high alcohol consumption was associated independently and significantly to the development of neuro-cognitive impairment.
Neuro-cognitive functions are one of the most relevant aspects for assessing a person's quality of life. In the specific context of HIV infection, cognitive capacity is especially important considering the need for care of one's own health and the continuity of antiretroviral therapy, which often needs to follow complex guidelines. If memory loss causes accession to treatment, there would be a risk of loss of control of HIV infection, which, in addition to endangering the health of the individual, would reduce the number of CD4, one of the risk factors that may worsen the neuro-cognitive deterioration found in the study .
The results of this test are of particular concern because, if neuro-cognitive problems are observed in young adults in such a high proportion, even though they are mostly asymptomatic, do not know its long-term evolution, and its intensity could increase. Thus, it will be important to determine accurately the causes that favor this deterioration and search therapeutic interventions that are able to stop it and hopefully reverse it.
Reference: Nichols SL, Bethel J, Garvie PA, et al. Neurocognitive Functioning in Antiretroviral Therapy-Naive Youth With Behaviorally Acquired Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Journal of Adolescent Health. August 21, 2013 (Epub ahead of print).
Translator Rachel Cirne EN <> ESP