Changes in resting-state functional brain activity are associated with waning cognitive functions in HIV-infected children.
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Delayed brain development in perinatally HIV-infected children may affect the functional brain activity and subsequently cognitive function. The current study evaluated the functional brain activity in HIV-infected children by quantifying the amplitude of low frequency fluctuations (ALFF) and functional connectivity (FC). Additionally, correlation of ALFF and FC with cognitive measures was performed. Twenty-six HIV-infected children and 20 control children underwent neuropsychological (NP) assessment and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI). ALFF and FC maps were generated and group differences were analyzed using two-sample t-test. Furthermore, ALFF and FC showing significant group differences were correlated with NP scores using Pearson's correlation. Significantly lower ALFF in the left middle temporal gyrus, precentral and post central gyrus was observed in HIV-infected children compared to controls. FC was significantly reduced in the right inferior parietal, vermis, middle temporal and left postcentral regions, and significantly increased in the right precuneus, superior parietal and left middle frontal regions in HIV-infected children as compared to control. HIV-infected children showed significantly lower NP scores in various domains including closure, exclusion, memory, verbal meaning, quantity and hidden figure than controls. These waning cognitive functions were significantly associated with changes in ALFF and FC in HIV-infected children. The findings suggest that abnormal ALFF and FC may responsible for cognitive deficits in HIV-infected children. ALFF and FC in association with cognitive evaluation may provide a clinical biomarker to evaluate functional brain activity and to plan neurocognitive intervention in HIV-infected children undergoing standard treatment.
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