Testing a computerized cognitive training protocol in adults aging with HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders: Randomized controlled trial rationale and protocol

Academic Article


  • Background: HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders occur in nearly 50% of adults with HIV. Such disorders can interfere with everyday functioning such as driving and medication adherence. Therefore, cognitive interventions are needed to address such neurocognitive disorders as well as improve everyday functioning, especially as people age with HIV. Objective: This article reports and discusses the overall rationale and development of speed of processing training, a computerized Internet cognitive training program, to improve this specific neurocognitive ability as well as everyday functioning and quality of life in adults aging with HIV. Although this protocol has been shown to improve speed of processing, everyday functioning, and quality of life in healthy, community-dwelling older adults in the advanced cognitive training in vital elderly (ACTIVE) study, its efficacy in adults aging with HIV has not been established. Nevertheless, such a cognitive intervention is particularly germane as 52%-59% of adults with HIV experience HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND), and both the frequency and severity of such disorders may increase with advancing age. Methods: The description of this longitudinal randomized controlled trial covers the following: (1) rationale for speed of processing training in this clinical population, (2) overview of overall study design, (3) eligibility criteria and HAND, (4) intervention dosage, (5) assessment battery, and (6) examination of biomarkers. Results: The project was funded in April 2016 and enrolment is on-going. The first results are expected to be submitted for publication in 2020. Conclusions: Similar novel cognitive intervention approaches are suggested as they may be of value to those with HAND and may utilize similar features of this current randomized controlled trial (RCT) protocol to examine their therapeutic efficacy.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Vance D; Fazeli P; Shacka J; Nicholson W; McKie P; Raper J; Azuero A; Wadley V; Ball K
  • Volume

  • 6
  • Issue

  • 4