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Assessment of Attentional Functioning in Children With HIV-1 Infection

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Attention Deficit Disorder With Hyperactivity, HIV Infections, Paralysis

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Trial Information

Assessment of Attentional Functioning in Children With HIV-1 Infection

Children with symptomatic HIV-1 (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) infection are at increased
risk for developing severely disabling neurological and neuropsychological deficits. HIV-1
related CNS (Central Nervous System) disease is a clinical syndrome, manifested by varying
and sometimes discordant degrees of cognitive, motor and behavioral impairment. A continuum
of clinical presentations attributed to the effects of HIV-1 infection on the CNS, ranging
from apparently normal development, decreases in the rate of new learning to the loss of
acquired skills have been observed. Two domains of psychological functioning appear most
susceptible to the effects of HIV infection on the central nervous system in children:
expressive behavior and attentional processes (Brouwers, et al, 1994).

Attention deficits have been documented as a relative weakness on the "freedom from
distractibility" subclass of IQ tests (Brouwers et al, 1989) and on behavior assessment
(Moss et al, 1994). Attention, however, has many subcomponents such as focused attention,
divided attention, vigilance, etc. Direct assessment of attentional functioning using
reaction time has not yet been conducted and questions whether attentional components are
differentially affected by the virus have not been addressed.

The proposed study would assess different components of attentional functioning in children
with HIV-1 disease. A quantitative and systematic method is developed that could complement
the existing standardized instruments used for measuring attention and neurocognitive
function in this population. Simple alerted visual reaction time will be measured with
varying preparatory intervals, a two-choice reaction time in a go/no-go paradigm will be
administered, and a continuous performance, divided reaction time test and an object
decision task will be given. Performance on these measures will also be related to measures
of brain structure and stage of HIV-1 disease.

Inclusion Criteria

Children and adolescents with HIV infection ages 5-18.

Have to be on another treatment protocol at the Division of Clinical Sciences, NCI.

No children with non-HIV associated CNS compromise, such as for example resulting from
head trauma, or genetic factors.

No children with uncorrectable (20/20) vision.

Type of Study:


Study Design:



United States: Federal Government

Study ID:




Start Date:

December 1995

Completion Date:

October 2000

Related Keywords:

  • Attention Deficit Disorder With Hyperactivity
  • HIV Infections
  • Paralysis
  • Brain Imaging
  • Encephalopathy
  • Hyperactivity
  • Neuroimmunology
  • Reaction Time Tasks
  • HIV Infections
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity
  • Hyperkinesis
  • Paralysis



National Cancer Institute (NCI) Bethesda, Maryland  20892