Variable progression of HIV-associated dementia

F. H. Bouwman, R. L. Skolasky, D. Hes, O. A. Selnes, J. D. Glass, T. E. Nance-Sproson, W. Royal, G. J. Dal Pan, Justin C. McArthur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


A consecutive series of 71 patients diagnosed with HIV-associated dementia (HAD) (1984-1994) were studied to characterize the clinical course of HAD, and to identify predictive markers of rapid neurologic progression. Neurologic progression rate was determined from the change in the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) dementia severity score from diagnosis to death. Those with the most rapid progression in neurologic disability were compared with those with slow or no progression. Autopsy material was immunostained for macrophage activation markers and gp41 in 30 individuals. Median survival was 3.3 months and 6.1 months for rapid-progression and no-progression patients, respectively. Rapid progression was associated with injection drug use but not with race, gender, or age. CD4+ cell counts were lower at diagnosis among rapid-progression than no-progression patients but no differences in AIDS- defining illnesses or patterns of antiretroviral therapy were found. At presentation, rapid-progression patients had more prominent symptoms of mental slowing than those with no progression; however, no other clinical features, CSF, or imaging features distinguished the groups. Less abundant macrophage activation in both basal ganglia and midfrontal gyrus regions, as judged by HAM56 immunostaining, was noted in 9 no-progression patients, compared with 12 rapid-progression patients. Neurologic progression and survival with HAD is highly variable. A significant proportion of individuals with dementia have prolonged survival of more than 12 months and remain cognitively stable. A history of injection drug use and presentation with prominent psychomotor slowing is associated with more rapid neurologic progression, and these patients tend to show more abundant macrophage activation within the CNS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1814-1820
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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