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Neurological and neuropsychological performance in HIV seropositive men without symptoms.
  1. R H McAllister,
  2. M V Herns,
  3. M J Harrison,
  4. S P Newman,
  5. S Connolly,
  6. C J Fowler,
  7. M Fell,
  8. P Durrance,
  9. H Manji,
  10. B E Kendall
  1. University College and Middlesex School of Medicine, Middlesex Hospital, London.


    Ninety five HIV seropositive and 32 seronegative homosexual men were recruited to a prospective study of the early features and natural history of the neurological manifestations of HIV infection. There was no evidence from the initial neurological examination, a neuropsychological test battery, nerve conduction studies, somatosensory evoked potentials from the legs, P300 event related auditory evoked potentials, magnetic stimulation of the motor cortex, or MRI scans that HIV infected men without symptoms in CDC groups II/III differed significantly from a well matched seronegative comparison group. Only the subgroup in CDC IV showed evidence of impairment, and this was restricted to their performance on some of the cognitive tests. The results imply that, despite early invasion of the CNS by HIV, major disturbances of function manifest themselves only when the patient becomes immunosuppressed. The importance of an appropriate comparison group and awareness of the potentially confounding influences such as age, education, exposure to alcohol and drugs, and mood and anxiety in such studies is stressed. The essentially negative findings are important in the understanding of the pathogenesis of neurological effect in HIV infection and in the design and interpretation of therapeutic trials.

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