Behavioral and brain functions : BBF 2017 06 2713(1) 11 doi 10.1186/s12993-017-0129-0
Attention ability can be subdivided into three functionally independent networks, i.e., alerting network, orienting network, and executive network. Previous literature has documented that deficits in attention are a common consequence of HIV infection. However, the precise nature of deficits of attention in HIV-infected patients is poorly understood. Accordingly, the aim of the study was to identify whether the HIV-infected patients showed a specific attention network deficit or a general attentional impairment.
We investigated 27 HIV-infected patients and 31 normal controls with the Attention Network Test (ANT).
The patients exhibited less efficient alerting network and executive network than controls. No significant difference was found in orienting network effect between groups. Our results also indicate a tendency for poorer efficiency on alerting attention and executive attention in patients with CD4 ≤ 200.
Our findings suggest that HIV-infected patients exhibited selective impairments of attention network of alerting and executive control. The link between lower CD4 T cell count and poorer attention network function imply the importance of starting antiretroviral therapy earlier to avoid irreversible neurocognitive impairment.