SAN FRANCISCO — Findings from a retrospective study presented at IDWeek showed no association between neurocognitive impairment and depression in patients with HIV.
“I was talking to mentor, Zsofi Szep — she’s an ID physician and I’m a med student — and she noticed that it seems as though there may be an association between the severity of depression and neurological impairments in the population she’s worked with,” study author Brigid Mumford, BS, of Drexel University College of Medicine, told Infectious Disease News. “There have been some signs that treating depression could improve neurocognitive impairments and we were hoping to investigate that because depression and neurocognitive function are two major affecters of the quality of life for people with HIV.”
To investigate any connection between neurocognitive function and depression — and, secondarily, any association between heightened inflammation and neurocognitive function and depression — in patients with HIV, Mumford and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study of patients with HIV from the Drexel Medicine CNS AIDS Research and Eradication Study who underwent a comprehensive neurocognitive assessment between Sept. 1, 2013, and June 1, 2015. According to the study, they reviewed patient charts for a diagnosis of depression based on ICD10 codes, the presence of antidepressant medication and engagement in psychiatric care.
The analysis included 197 participants with available neurocognitive evaluation.
According to the findings, 23% of patients had a diagnosis of depression, but Mumford and colleagues did not find that these diagnoses were associated with neurocognitive score. Mumford said this may be due to the nature of retrospective studies.
“It was difficult to determine the depression start date,” she explained. “Many patients were already receiving treatment, so it was difficult to determine if that nullified the relations.”
However, Mumford said it is important to continue studying the connection between depression and HIV.
“These factors really affect the quality of life of people living with HIV, who are now living longer lives — similar life spans as the general population, even,” she said. “It’s really common and treating these issues could really improve the quality of life for patients with HIV infection who should be able to live a good, long life with a good quality of life.” – by Caitlyn Stulpin
Reference: Mumford B, et al. Abstract 584. Presented at: ID Week; Oct. 3-7. 2018; San Francisco.
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.