Physical exercise is associated with less neurocognitive impairment among HIV-infected adults
The present study examined neuropsychological (NP) functioning and associated medical, neurological, brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and psychiatric findings in 389 nondemented males infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Type 1 (HIV-1), and in 111 uninfected controls. Using a comprehensive NP test battery, we found increased rates of impairment at each successive stage of HIV infection. HIV-related NP impairment was generally mild, especially in the medically asymptomatic stage of infection, and most often affected attention, speed of information processing, and learning efficiency; this pattern is consistent with earliest involvement of subcortical or frontostriatal brain systems. NP impairment could not be explained on the bases of mood disturbance, recreational drug or alcohol use, or constitutional symptoms; by contrast, impairment in HIV-infected subjects was related to central brain atrophy on MRI, as well as to evidence of cellular immune activation and neurological abnormalities linked to the central nervous system.