What Is AIDS-Related Cognitive Impairment?
Studies have shown that occasionally people who are afflicted with AIDS will develop a cognitive impairment disorder during the later stages of their illness. The primary causes of AIDS-related cognitive impairment can be caused by the following possibilities:
- The direct impact of the HIV virus on the afflicted person’s brain.
- Another type of infection which has taken advantage of the afflicted person’s weakened immune system.
It is extraordinarily difficult to be very exact about the occurrence of AIDS-related cognitive impairment disorder. Of the various studies on this topic that have been done to date, most were completed prior to the introduction of the combination of various prescription drugs that are used to control the HIV infection, known as combination therapy.
Most commonly, the typical symptoms that are most frequently seen as a direct result of AIDS-related cognitive impairment disorder by trained child psychologist Orange County specialists would include the following:
- The person demonstrates forgetfulness much more often than what would be typical, particularly with short-term memory.
- The person has problems concentrating or maintaining focus.
- The person will have language difficulties, both speaking and in comprehension.
- The person will often be more awkward and physically clumsy, also frequently being somewhat unsteady on their feet, also known as ataxia.
- The person may demonstrate jerky and sudden eye movements.
- The person Will exhibit changes to their personality and moods, shown by extreme emotional responses which can fluctuate dramatically.
There are frequently issues in definitely diagnosing AIDS-related cognitive impairment, but certain tests can be conducted that can help accurately categorize this. These tests would include the following:
- HIV Test. This looks for the presence of antibodies to the HIV virus in a person’s blood and should only be undertaken after specialist counseling.
- CT Scan. This can be used to detect infections in the brain.
- MRI Scan. This can show any shrinkage of brain tissue.
- Lumbar Puncture. This can be used to detect the amount of HIV infection in the fluid that surrounds the brain.
- Neuropsychometric Testing. These psychological tests are used in order to measure the functions of different parts of the brain.