Decreased MEG beta oscillations in HIV-infected older adults during the resting state

Katherine M. Becker, Elizabeth Heinrichs-Graham, Howard S. Fox, Kevin R. Robertson, Uriel Sandkovsky, Jennifer O'Neill, Susan Swindells, Tony W. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The introduction of combination antiretroviral therapy significantly reduced the prevalence of the most severe form of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). Despite this decline, 35-70 % of HIV-infected patients continue to develop mild motor and cognitive impairments. Although neuropsychological studies have shown that HAND affects a wide array of cognitive functions, a formal diagnosis is still based on the exclusion of opportunistic infections and other common ailments, as no specific tests or biomarkers are currently available. In this study, we used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to measure neural activity during the resting-state in 15 HIV-infected older patients and a demographically matched group of 15 uninfected controls. MEG is a noninvasive and direct measure of neural activity with excellent spatiotemporal resolution. All MEG data were coregistered to structural magnetic resonance images, corrected for head motion, fitted to a regional-level source model, and subjected to spectral analyses to quantify population-level neural oscillatory activity. We found that HIV-infected persons exhibited decreased beta oscillations in the supplementary motor area bilaterally, paracentral lobule, posterior cingulate, and bilateral regions of the superior parietal lobule relative to healthy controls. Beta oscillations in the posterior cingulate, a critical component of the default mode network, were also positively correlated with patient scores on the memory recall aspect of the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised. These results demonstrate that chronic HIV infection does not uniformly disturb cortical function, and that neuronal populations in dorsomedial motor and parietal cortices are especially affected. These findings also suggest that resting-state MEG recordings may hold significant promise as a functional biomarker for identifying HAND and monitoring disease progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)586-594
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of neurovirology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • AIDS
  • Alpha
  • Biomarker
  • Cognitive disorders
  • Default mode
  • Gamma
  • HAND
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Theta

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Virology


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