Reaction Times are Faster in HIV-Seropositive Patients on Antiretroviral Therapy: A Preliminary Report

Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL, USA.
Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology (Impact Factor: 2.08). 10/1999; 21(5):730-5. DOI: 10.1076/jcen.21.5.730.867
Source: PubMed


We evaluated subclinical mental and motor slowing in 142 HIV-seropositive patients without dementia, using computerized simple and choice reaction time tasks and self-report measures of psychological distress. Patients on antiretroviral therapy at the time of testing (n = 79) had significantly faster choice reaction times (p < 0.05), indicating faster mental processing speed, than untreated patients (n = 63). These faster RTs could not be attributed to differences in age, education, risk factors, degree of immunosuppression, substance abuse history, peripheral neuropathy, or psychological distress. Reaction time tasks should be investigated further as potential outcome measures in clinical trials, particularly for subjects with few or no overt cognitive deficits.

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Available from: Eileen Martin, May 19, 2015
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    • "Slowed information processing speed is present on tasks with (e.g., Trail-making) and without (e.g., Stroop Color-Word) motor demands. HIV-associated cognitive and motor slowing deficits are oftentimes exacerbated when controlled processing demands are increased, such as under conditions of divided attention (e.g., Martin et al. 1999). Despite the prominence of basic and complex motor deficits in HIV, research on its component process and underlying cognitive mechanisms is relatively scant. "
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    • "Nevertheless, the clinical measures of processing speed used in this study were multifactorial and therefore future research is needed to evaluate which specific component processes of this construct (e.g., simple motor speed), if any, are driving the overall effect. For example, evaluation of theoretically-based measures of basic and complex reaction time (e.g., Martin et al., 1999) may be informative in this population. Similarly, given our exclusive reliance on the Grooved Pegboard test as a measure of motor functions, future studies may wish to examine other specific motor skills, including finger tapping and grip strength, as well as more sophisticated and sensitive motor paradigms (e.g., motor programming; see Caligiuri & Buitenhuys, 2005). "
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    • "However, it integrates a broad range of attentionrelated speeded cognitive measures with different levels of complexity that are sensitive to important treatment effects in both epilepsy and other patient categories. This has been shown in studies of cognitive AED effects (Gillham et al., 1988; Meador et al., 1991) and in studies of HIV-seropositive patients receiving antiretroviral therapy (Martin et al., 1999). The CalCAP test battery consists of four subtests of simple reaction time and six subtests measuring morecomplex aspects of attention, choice reaction time, psychomotor speed, and rapid information processing. "
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