, Volume 237, Issue 6, pp 362-368

Motor dysfunction in HIV-infected patients without clinically detectable central-nervous deficit

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Summary

Motor tests were performed in 50 HIV-infected patients in all stages according to the current CDC classification, but without any clinically evident central nervous system deficit, and the results compared with an age-matched control group. Patients were excluded from the study if there was alcohol or drug abuse, fever and/or opportunistic cerebral infection. The parameters tested were postural tremor of the outstretched hands, most rapid voluntary alternating index finger movements (MRAM) and rise time of most rapid index finger extensions (MRC). Whereas tremor peak frequencies did not differ significantly in the patients and controls, MRAM and rise times of MRCs showed significant slowing in the patient group. Morphologically, the motor test performance of the HIV-infected patients was similar to that of patients with manifest basal ganglia disease (Parkinson's, Huntington's and Wilson's diseases). MRI scans of all patients were normal. It is concluded that in HIV-infected patients there is a very early subclinical central nervous system affection, especially of the basal ganglia, which is detectable with appropriate, quantitative motor function tests. These functional abnormalities precede the structural alterations in the MRI scans.

Preliminary results were presented at the Congress of the International Medical Society of Motor Disturbances (ISMD), Rome, 1988