Tablet-Based Cognitive Impairment Screening for Adults With HIV Seeking Clinical Care: Observational Study.

Academic Article


  • BACKGROUND: Neurological complications including cognitive impairment persist among people with HIV on antiretrovirals; however, cognitive screening is not routinely conducted in HIV clinics. OBJECTIVE: Our objective for this study was 3-fold: (1) to determine the feasibility of implementing an iPad-based cognitive impairment screener among adults seeking HIV care, (2) to examine the psychometric properties of the tool, and (3) to examine predictors of cognitive impairment using the tool. METHODS: A convenience sample of participants completed Brain Baseline Assessment of Cognition and Everyday Functioning (BRACE), which included (1) Trail Making Test Part A, measuring psychomotor speed; (2) Trail Making Test Part B, measuring set-shifting; (3) Stroop Color, measuring processing speed; and (4) the Visual-Spatial Learning Test. Global neuropsychological function was estimated as mean T score performance on the 4 outcomes. Impairment on each test or for the global mean was defined as a T score ≤40. Subgroups of participants repeated the tests 4 weeks or >6 months after completing the first test to evaluate intraperson test-retest reliability and practice effects (improvements in performance due to repeated test exposure). An additional subgroup completed a lengthier cognitive battery concurrently to assess validity. Relevant factors were abstracted from electronic medical records to examine predictors of global neuropsychological function. RESULTS: The study population consisted of 404 people with HIV (age: mean 53.6 years; race: 332/404, 82% Black; 34/404, 8% White, 10/404, 2% American Indian/Alaskan Native; 28/404, 7% other and 230/404, 58% male; 174/404, 42% female) of whom 99% (402/404) were on antiretroviral therapy. Participants completed BRACE in a mean of 12 minutes (SD 3.2), and impairment was demonstrated by 34% (136/404) on Trail Making Test A, 44% (177/404) on Trail Making Test B, 40% (161/404) on Stroop Color, and 17% (67/404) on Visual-Spatial Learning Test. Global impairment was demonstrated by 103 out of 404 (25%). Test-retest reliability for the subset of participants (n=26) repeating the measure at 4 weeks was 0.81 and for the subset of participants (n=67) repeating the measure almost 1 year later (days: median 294, IQR 50) was 0.63. There were no significant practice effects at either time point (P=.20 and P=.68, respectively). With respect for validity, the correlation between global impairment on the lengthier cognitive battery and BRACE was 0.63 (n=61; P<.001), with 84% sensitivity and 94% specificity to impairment on the lengthier cognitive battery. CONCLUSIONS: We were able to successfully implement BRACE and estimate cognitive impairment burden in the context of routine clinic care. BRACE was also shown to have good psychometric properties. This easy-to-use tool in clinical settings may facilitate the care needs of people with HIV as cognitive impairment continues to remain a concern in people with HIV.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • JMIR Mental Health  Journal
  • Keywords

  • HIV, cognitive complications, digital assessment, people with HIV, screening, tablet
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Rubin LH; Severson J; Marcotte TD; Savin MJ; Best A; Johnson S; Cosman J; Merickel M; Buchholz A; Del Bene VA
  • Start Page

  • e25660
  • Volume

  • 8
  • Issue

  • 9