A Randomized Controlled Trial to Evaluate if Computerized Cognitive Rehabilitation Improves Neurocognition in Ugandan Children with HIV. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses.

Document Type



Paediatrics and Child Health (East Africa)


Objectives: Clinically stable children with HIV can have neuromotor, attention, memory, visual–spatial, and executive function impairments. We evaluated neuropsychological and behavioral benefits of computerized cognitive rehabilitation training (CCRT) in Ugandan HIV children.

Design: One hundred fifty-nine rural Ugandan children with WHO Stage I or II HIV disease (6 to 12 years; 77 boys, 82 girls; M = 8.9, SD = 1.86 years) were randomized to one of three treatment arms over a 2-month period.

Methods: The CCRT arm received 24 one-hour sessions over 2 months, using Captain's Log (BrainTrain Corporation) programmed for games targeting working memory, attention, and visual–spatial analysis. These games progressed in difficulty as the child's performance improved. The second arm was a “limited CCRT” with the same games rotated randomly from simple to moderate levels of training. The third arm was a passive control group receiving no training. All children were assessed at enrollment, 2 months (immediately following CCRT), and 3 months after CCRT completion.

Results: The CCRT group had significantly greater gains through 3 months of follow-up compared to passive controls on overall Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children–second edition (KABC-II) mental processing index (p < .01), planning (p = .04), and knowledge (p = .03). The limited CCRT group performed better than controls on learning (p = .05). Both CCRT arms had significant improvements on CogState Groton maze learning (p < .01); although not on CogState attention/memory, TOVA/impulsivity, or behavior rating inventory for executive function and child behavior checklist (psychiatric behavior/symptom problems) ratings by caregiver.

Conclusions: CCRT intervention can be effective for neurocognitive rehabilitation in children with HIV in low-resource settings, especially in children who are clinically stable on ARV treatment.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

AIDS research and human retroviruses