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There is lack of Cameroonian adult neuropsychological (NP) norms, limited knowledge concerning HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders in Sub-Saharan Africa, and evidence of differential inflammation and disease progression based on viral subtypes. In this study, we developed demographically corrected norms and assessed HIV and viral genotypes effects on attention/working memory (WM), learning, and memory.
We administered two tests of attention/WM [Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT)-50, Wechsler Memory Scale (WMS)-III Spatial Span] and two tests of learning and memory [Brief Visuospatial Memory Test-Revised (BVMT-R), Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised (HVLT-R)] to 347 HIV+ and 395 seronegative adult Cameroonians. We assessed the effects of viral factors on neurocognitive performance.
Compared to controls, people living with HIV (PLWH) had significantly lower T-scores on PASAT-50 and attention/WM summary scores, on HVLT-R total learning and learning summary scores, on HVLT-R delayed recall, BVMT-R delayed recall and memory summary scores. More PLWH had impairment in attention/WM, learning, and memory. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) and current immune status had no effect on T-scores. Compared to untreated cases with detectable viremia, untreated cases with undetectable viremia had significantly lower (worse) T-scores on BVMT-R total learning, BVMT-R delayed recall, and memory composite scores. Compared to PLWH infected with other subtypes (41.83%), those infected with HIV-1 CRF02_AG (58.17%) had higher (better) attention/WM T-scores.
PLWH in Cameroon have impaired attention/WM, learning, and memory and those infected with CRF02_AG viruses showed reduced deficits in attention/WM. The first adult normative standards for assessing attention/WM, learning, and memory described, with equations for computing demographically adjusted T-scores, will facilitate future studies of diseases affecting cognitive function in Cameroonians.
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