Physical Activity Affects Brain Integrity in HIV+ Individuals

Mario Ortega, Laurie M. Baker, Florin Vaida, Robert Paul, Brian Basco, Beau M. Ances

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Prior research has suggested benefits of aerobic physical activity (PA) on cognition and brain volumes in HIV uninfected (HIV-) individuals, however, few studies have explored the relationships between PA and brain integrity (cognition and structural brain volumes) in HIV-infected (HIV+) individuals. Seventy HIV+ individuals underwent neuropsychological testing, structural neuroimaging, laboratory tests, and completed a PA questionnaire, recalling participation in walking, running, and jogging activities over the last year. A PA engagement score of weekly metabolic equivalent (MET) hr of activity was calculated using a compendium of PAs. HIV+ individuals were classified as physically active (any energy expended above resting expenditure, n=22) or sedentary (n=48). Comparisons of neuropsychological performance, grouped by executive and motor domains, and brain volumes were completed between groups. Physically active and sedentary HIV+ individuals had similar demographic and laboratory values, but the active group had higher education (14.0 vs. 12.6 years, p=.034). Physically active HIV+ individuals performed better on executive (p=.040, unadjusted; p=.043, adjusted) but not motor function (p=.17). In addition, among the physically active group the amount of physical activity (METs) positively correlated with executive (Pearson's r=0.45, p=0.035) but not motor (r=0.21; p=.35) performance. In adjusted analyses the physically active HIV+ individuals had larger putamen volumes (p=.019). A positive relationship exists between PA and brain integrity in HIV+ individuals. Results from the present study emphasize the importance to conduct longitudinal interventional investigation to determine if PA improves brain integrity in HIV+ individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)880-889
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 19 2015


  • Brain volume
  • Exercise
  • HIV
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Neuropsychology performance
  • Putamen


Dive into the research topics of 'Physical Activity Affects Brain Integrity in HIV+ Individuals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this