Sullivan, E. V., Zahr, N. M., Sassoon, S. A., & Pfefferbaum, A. (2022). Aging Accelerates Postural Instability in HIV Infection: Contributing Sensory Biomarkers. Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, 1-15.
People living with HIV infection (PWH) who are adequately treated pharmacologically are now likely to have a near normal life span. Along with this benefit of the aging HIV population are potential physical problems attendant to aging, including postural stability. Whether aging with HIV accelerates age-related liability for postural instability and what sensory factors contribute to imbalance were examined in 227 PWH and 137 people living without HIV (PWoH), age 25 to 75 years. A mixed cross-sectional/longitudinal design revealed steeper aging trajectories of the PWH than PWoH in sway path length, measured as center-of-pressure micro-displacements with a force platform while a person attempted to stand still. Sway paths were disproportionately longer for PWH than PWoH when tested with eyes closed than open. Multiple regression identified objective measures of sensory perception as unique predictors of sway path length, whereas age, sway path length, and self-reports of falls were predictors of standing on one leg, a common measure of ataxia. Knowledge about sensory signs and symptoms of imbalance in postural stability with and without visual information may serve as modifiable risk factors for averting instability and liability for falls in the aging HIV population.