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Cognitive Consequences of Aging With HIV: Implications for Neuroplasticity and Rehabilitation

Vance, D. E., McDougall, G. M. Jr., Wilson, N., Debiasi, M. O., & Cody, S. L

Abstract

Combination active antiretroviral therapy prevents HIV from replicating and ravaging the immune system, thus allowing people to age with this disease. Unfortunately, the synergistic effects of HIV and aging can predispose many to become more at risk of developing cognitive deficits, which can interfere with medical management, everyday functioning, and quality of life. The purpose of this article is to describe the role of cognitive reserve and neuroplasticity on cognitive functioning in those aging with this disease. Specifically, the role of environment and the health of these individuals can compromise cognitive functioning. Fortunately, some cognitive interventions such as prevention and management of comorbidities, cognitive remediation therapy, and neurotropic medications may be of value in preventing and rehabilitating the cognitive consequences of aging with HIV. Novel approaches such as cognitive prescriptions, transcranial direct stimulation, and binaural beat therapy may also be considered as possible techniques for cognitive rehabilitation.