Neurobehavioral manifestations of symptomatic HIV-1 disease in children: Can nutritional factors play a role?

Pim Brouwers, Charles DeCarli, Melvyn P. Heyes, Howard A. Moss, Pamela L. Wolters, Gareth Tudor-Williams, Lucy A. Civitello, Philip A. Pizzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Central nervous system (CNS) abnormalities are significant and frequent complications of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) infection in infants and children. Although the predominant cause of neurological and neuropsychological abnormalities appears to be related to HIV infection of the CNS, other factors including malnutrition may also play a role. We retrospectively evaluated the association of change in body weight with changes in neurocognitive function, ventricular brain ratio, and cerebrospinal quinolinic acid levels in a small cohort of children (n=15; mean age 6.3 years) with symptomatic HIV-1 disease before and after 6 months of antiretroviral therapy with continuous intravenous infusion of zidovudine (ZVD). Significant increases in weight and neurocognitive function as well as decreases in ventricular brain ratio and cerebrospinal quinolinic acid levels were noted after therapy. Only the relation between increase in weight and decrease in ventricular brain ratio was statistically significant (P< .01); contrary to expectations, an increase in weight seemed to correlate with a decrease in neurocognitive function (NS). Another group of children treated at the same time with oral intermittent ZVD, but otherwise receiving the same care did not show the same magnitude of improvement in neurocognitive function. These results seem to suggest that general supportive and medical care as well as nutritional factors may only play a limited role in the neurocognitive improvements after antiretroviral therapy with continuous infusion ZVD. Our sample size was, however, small and the nutritional measure rather global; thus these findings have to be considered as very preliminary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number10 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Oct 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • brain imaging
  • encephalopathy
  • human
  • neuropsychological test
  • pediatric HIV-1 disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science


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