Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 60  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 229-235

Assessment of neurological soft signs in pediatric patients with HIV infection

1 Department of Psychiatry, JSS Medical College and Hospital, JSS University, Mysore, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Pediatrics, Asha Kiran Charitable Trust, Mysore, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Clinical Psychology, JSS Medical College and Hospital, JSS University, Mysore, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Najla Eiman
Department of Psychiatry, JSS Medical College Hospital, Mysore, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_283_17

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Background: Children and adolescents comprise a significant proportion of people living with HIV. The effects of HIV on the growing brain have generated interest among researchers in this field. Deficits arising during this crucial phase of neuromaturation due to HIV infection need to be assessed and addressed. Neurological soft signs (NSSs) can act as a proxy marker for underlying neuropsychological deficits. The present study aims to study the NSSs in pediatric patients with HIV and compare with healthy controls (HCs). Materials and Methods: Forty-eight children aged between 6 and 16 years diagnosed with HIV were selected by purposive sampling, and the Physical and Neurological Examination of Soft Signs (PANESS) scale was applied. Fifty children matched by age and sex were recruited from a nearby school, and the PANESS scale was applied. Children were divided into age- and gender-specific groups. The outcome scores of cases and controls groups were compared. Results: Males and females aged 13–16 years with HIV showed more soft signs as compared to HCs, with respect to gait errors, dysrhythmia, impersistence, speed of repetitive and sequenced movements, overflow with gaits, overflow with sequenced movements, total overflow, and overflow in excess of age. The differences in scores were less marked in younger age groups among both the genders. Conclusions: The persistence of NSSs in older age group in HIV-infected children may point toward the presence of HIV-associated neurological disorder.



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