Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cognitive training helps adults with HIV

Date:
October 16, 2012
Source:
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Summary:
Cognitive training exercises can help improve mental processing speed and ability to complete daily tasks in middle-age and older adults with HIV, a population that is experiencing cognitive impairments at a higher rate than those without the disease.

As more effective antiretroviral therapy has evolved over the past 30 years, HIV/AIDS has shifted from an acute to a chronic condition. But as patients live longer, research indicates that they are experiencing cognitive impairments at a higher rate than people without the disease.

A new study by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, published online Oct. 15, 2012 in the Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, shows that cognitive training exercises can help -- improving mental processing speed and the ability to complete daily tasks in middle-age and older adults with HIV.

"Today, more than 25 percent of people living with HIV in the United States are older than 50," says the study's lead author, David Vance, Ph.D., associate professor in the UAB School of Nursing, associate director of the UAB Center for Nursing Research and scientist in the UAB Edward R. Roybal Center for Research on Applied Gerontology. "Thirty to 60 percent of adults living with HIV experience cognitive problems at some point in the illness, a condition known as 'HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders.' It's imperative for people with HIV and their treatment teams be proactive in addressing cognitive problems as they emerge, because without treatment these issues -- which mimic premature aging -- can lead to difficulties in working and living independently."

In a pilot study conducted at UAB, 46 middle-age and older adults with HIV were randomly assigned to 10 hours of computerized speed-of-processing training or to no cognitive training. "Speed of processing" refers to how quickly a person can automatically perform simple tasks -- such as assimilating information, comprehending relationships and developing reasonable conclusions -- that require attention and focused concentration without really having to think them through.

Speed-of-processing training is essentially exercising the brain. In the UAB study, it involved subjects using a computer program to perform challenging activities designed to preserve, enhance or develop cognitive abilities. Researchers measured the cognitive function of each group before and after the study. The study utilized computerized brain-speed training from Posit Science for the experimental group. The UAB faculty on this study have no financial ties to Posit Science.

Speed-of-processing training has been studied extensively in older adults, Vance says. "These studies have shown that even as people age, computer-based cognitive training improves speed of processing, sustained visual attention, and complex reaction time. The goal was to see if the same held true for people with HIV-based cognitive issues."

That turned out to be the case, Vance says. "The group that did the computer-based training showed significant improvements in visual processing speed and attention -- an important measure of brain function -- as well as in timed instrumental activities of daily living, which measure how quickly a person can do everyday activities, versus the group that did not use the computer-based training," he explains.

In an exit survey, participants who did the computer-based training also indicated that they felt the training had improved their functioning moderately or better in mental abilities, memory, speed of processing and attention.

"This study shows people with HIV have non-pharmacologic options to consider that can improve cognitive functioning in areas that directly affect quality of life," Vance says. "Based on this research, my team would suggest cognitive exercises to people with HIV who have noticed issues and who want to improve their brain health."

Vance adds that even though this was a small study group, the findings are encouraging and that further studies about this type of intervention should include a larger sample of patients and compare different types of cognitive training exercises.

Neil Giuliano, CEO of San Francisco AIDS Foundation, noted that this may open new possibilities for taking on the cognitive issues that are a key component of addressing HIV and aging.

"By 2015, most Americans with HIV will be over 50," Giuliano said. "This is an important pilot study, and one that merits further research to better understand the role addressing cognitive function can play in achieving better long term outcomes for older adults with HIV."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alabama at Birmingham. The original article was written by Jennifer Lollar. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Cognitive training helps adults with HIV." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121016162845.htm>.
University of Alabama at Birmingham. (2012, October 16). Cognitive training helps adults with HIV. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121016162845.htm
University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Cognitive training helps adults with HIV." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121016162845.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins