Magnetic resonance spectroscopy in childhood AIDS encephalopathy

Steven G. Pavlakis, Dongfeng Lu, Yitzchak Frank, Saroj Bakshi, Savita Pahwa, Tracey A. Barnett, Maura E. Porricolo, Robert J. Gould, Molly L. Nozyce, Roger A. Hyman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Twenty-five children with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) underwent cranial magnetic resonance imaging and proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Patients were divided into 2 groups based on clinical parameters: encephalopathy and nonencephalopathy. N-acetyl aspartate/creatine ratios were compared between the 2 groups and to control data. Spectra were obtained for 2 volumes of interest: the basal ganglia region and the white matter. The mean basal ganglia region ratio for the AIDS encephalopathy patients (n = 8) was 1.12 and the ratio for the AIDS nonencephalopathy patients (n = 17) was 1.48. The ratio for the 9 controls was 1.57. The encephalopathy group had a significantly lower ratio than both the control (P < .001) and the AIDS nonencephalopathy group (P < .002). The mean white matter ratio for the encephalopathy group (n = 8) was 1.47 and for the AIDS nonencephalopathy group (n = 13) was 1.82 with a control (n = 6) ratio of 1.82. The encephalopathy patients had a lower white matter ratio than the nonencephalopathy (P < .05) patients but the ratio was not different than controls (P < .11). It is concluded that N-acetyl aspartate/creatine ratios are reduced in childhood AIDS encephalopathy and proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy may be helpful in defining brain human immunodeficiency virus-1 infection. However, further longitudinal studies are necessary to determine the sensitivity and specificity of this technique.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-282
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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