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Postgrad Med J doi:10.1136/postgradmedj-2012-131185
  • Original article

Patients with hepatitis C infection and normal liver function: an evaluation of cognitive function

  1. Carlos Eduardo Brandão de Mello2
  1. 1Department of Neurology, Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro (Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro), Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
  2. 2Department of Gastroenterology, Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro (Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro), Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jefferson Abrantes, QRSW 07 Bloco A-12 Apto 303. CEP: 70675712. Sudoeste. Brasília, Distrito Federal, Brazil; jeffabrantes{at}uol.com.br
  • Received 1 June 2012
  • Revised 7 November 2012
  • Accepted 3 April 2013
  • Published Online First 26 April 2013

Abstract

Purpose of the study Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is associated with neuropsychiatric complaints. Previous studies have associated cognitive alterations with HCV infection but have often included confounding factors in their samples. This study compares the cognitive performance between patients with HCV infection (HCV patients) and a control group while excluding other factors that may cause cognitive impairment.

Study design This cross-sectional study was conducted from March 2010 through June 2011. HCV infected patients and healthy individuals between the ages of 18 and 80 years were considered eligible. The exclusion criteria included well established causes of cognitive impairment such as depression and cirrhosis. Study participants underwent neuropsychological testing involving measures of attention, memory, abstraction, visuoconstructive abilities, and executive function.

Results Of 138 initial patients, 47 were excluded because of their medical records, three refused to participate, 23 did not attend the consultation, and 32 were excluded because of having Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) scores >11. In all, 33 patients underwent neuropsychological testing; however, three were excluded because of having hypothyroidism, and one was excluded because of having a cobalamin deficiency. For the control group, of the 33 healthy individuals that were selected, four were excluded because of having BDI scores >11. Thus, the final analysis included 29 HCV patients and 29 control participants. The groups did not differ in education, age, or gender. No statistically significant differences were found between the groups regarding cognitive performance.

Conclusions In this study using strict selection criteria, there was no evidence of an association between HCV infection and cognitive impairment.


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