Spatial, verbal and numerical memory of HIV infected children in South Africa
Bosch, E.P. van den
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We examined the performance on a spatial, verbal and numerical memory task of HIV infected children, ages 3 through 15, in South Africa, and the correlation between these memory tasks. 60 HIV positive children (Mean age 8.9) participated in this study. The main task used, was a location learning task that measures visuo-spatial learning and recall. For this task, no standard scores for children were available. Further, the verbal and numerical memory tasks of the McCarthy Scales (MSCA) (McCarthy, 1972) were used, including the means and standard deviations of the McCarthy norm group. The results showed, that the children performed significant lower on the verbal and numerical memory tasks compared to the norm group of the McCarthy Scales. Furthermore the children performed significantly lower on the verbal task compare to the numerical tasks. Finally, the scores on the memory tasks correlated highly significantly. This correlation can not be explained by age. Apparently there must be another factor which creates a strong correlation between performance on the memory tasks, despite the fact that the neural basis for these memory areas is totally different. Possibly this might argue for a HIV associated decline in memory performance, or an influence of the HIV infection causing cognitive stagnation.