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HIV Likely to Impact Cognitive Function in Affected Children

HIV in children can hamper cognitive function in them, leading to impairment in auditory, visual and sensory network

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Health News
1 min read
HIV-infected children can suffer in terms of auditory, visual and sensory networks, when compared to non-affected children.  
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Delayed brain development in perinatally HIV-infected children may affect the functional brain activity and subsequently cognitive function, says a new study.

The study, published online in the journal NeuroImage Clinical, evaluated the brain activity of affected children by assessing cognitive measures in 26 HIV-infected children and 20 unaffected children through neuropsychological tests and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imagine.

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The study revealed that HIV-infected children showed lower NP scores in various domains like closure, exclusion, memory, verbal meaning and quantity. There were significant differences in auditory, visual, language, motor and sensory networks in infected children than others.

A co-author of the study, neurologist Dr Ravindra Garg from Lucknow’s King George Medical University, one of the investigators of the study, said,

Decline of mental processes has been commonly observed in HIV infected adults. The common condition we see in adult patients is dementia, which broadly refers to a decline in memory or thinking skills and encephalopathy, a condition that affects the structure or function of thebrain. This new study asserts similar impact on HIV infected children.

According to UNICEF India there are 220,000 children infected by HIV/AIDS in India. It is approximated that every year 55,000 to 60,000 children are born to mothers who are HIV positive. 30% of these children are likely to be infected themselves.

Better nutritional, psychological and medical support is thus required to help mitigate the cognitive impairment that HIV might lead to in children.

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