Variable patterns of neuropsychological performance in HIV-1 infection

J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 2008 Aug;30(6):613-26. doi: 10.1080/13803390701565225. Epub 2008 Mar 4.


Based upon prior findings with group means, a "prototypical pattern" of neuropsychological results with HIV infection has emerged: impaired executive functioning, motor skills, speed of information processing, and learning, with intact memory retention, most language skills, and visuospatial functioning. We examined neuropsychological results from 553 HIV+ adults to determine the number of patterns seen among individuals with HIV infection. Factor analysis of a relatively comprehensive neuropsychological battery identified 6 component factors: verbal memory (VeM), visual memory (ViM), processing speed (PS), attention/working memory (A/WM), executive function (EF), and motor (M). These factor scores were submitted to hierarchical cluster analysis, to determine the appropriate number of clusters or patterns in the cohort. Final cluster membership was then determined by K-means analysis, based on the Lange, Iverson, Senior, and Chelune (2002) method. A 6-cluster solution was found to be most appropriate. The definitions of the clusters were based upon ipsative scoring of factor scores to indicate relative strengths and weaknesses (independent of overall level of performance): Cluster 1: strong EF; Cluster 2: strong M, weak VeM and EF; Cluster 3: strong PS, weak ViM and EF; Cluster 4: strong VeM, weak M; Cluster 5: strong A/WM; Cluster 6: strong VeM, weak EF. Neuropsychological-impairment rates differed across clusters, but all 6 clusters contained substantial numbers of impaired and unimpaired individuals. Cluster membership was not explained by demographic variables or psychiatric or neuromedical confounds. Thus, there does not appear to be a single, prototypical pattern of neuropsychological impairment associated with HIV infection for this battery of representative neuropsychological tests.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Dementia Complex / diagnosis
  • AIDS Dementia Complex / psychology*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • HIV-1*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics
  • Reference Values
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology