Cognitive impairment in the HTLV-1 infection: a comparative study associated with functional performance

J Neurovirol. 2020 Sep 21. doi: 10.1007/s13365-020-00905-5. Online ahead of print.


Human T cell leukemia virus type-I (HTLV-1) infection courses with a myelopathy, the tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). In a case-control study, we compared the neuropsychological profile and functional characteristics in two case HTLV-1-infected groups (asymptomatic and with HAM/TSP) with a control group negative for HTLV-1. Subjects were paired for age, sex, and educational features. The case group differed from control group in neuropsychological measures such as in episodic memory recall, executive functions, and fine motor dexterity measure. Individuals with HAM/TSP have more depressive symptoms and worst performance in activities of daily living (ADL) presenting a less functionality. In multivariate models, the fine motor performance, the executive functioning, the recognition memory, and the depressive symptoms explained part of the variance in functionality. Those findings may contribute to understand of everyday life impairments and limitations of HTLV-1-infected population and to organize the rehabilitation. Once more, based in neuropsychological and functional data, we can reaffirm that HTLV-1 is never a benign condition, but sometimes it is only in a stage coursing with less symptoms.

Keywords: Activities of daily living; Depression; HAM/TSP; HTLV-1; Myelopathy; Neuropsychology.