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.

Related Articles


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 October 30, 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 October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) A Swedish amputee who became the first person to ever receive a brain controlled prosthetic arm is able to manipulate and handle delicate objects with an unprecedented level of dexterity. The device is connected directly to his bone, nerves and muscles, giving him the ability to control it with his thoughts. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Google X wants to improve modern medicine with nanoparticles and a wearable device. It's all an attempt to tackle disease detection and prevention. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Researchers in Sweden released a study showing heavy milk drinkers face an increased mortality risk from a variety of causes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Surrounded by health care workers in the White House East Room, President Barack Obama said the U.S. will likely see additional Ebola cases in the weeks ahead. But he said the nation can't seal itself off in the fight against the disease. (Oct. 29) 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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