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Elizabeth Breen '22

ARS Nova participant Elizabeth Breen.

Major: Integrative Neuroscience

Bio: Elizabeth is a Junior undergraduate in the Integrative Neuroscience major at Fordham University Lincoln Center on the Cell and Molecular Neuroscience track. Her research interests include physician-patient relationships, health literacy, and sociocultural factors in diverse HIV+ populations.

Mentor: Dr. Monica Rivera Mindt
Abstract: Objective. Health Related Quality of Life (HRQOL) refers to the perceived impact a disease or illness has on a patient’s mental and physical health status. People with HIV (PWH) self-report more HRQOL symptoms compared to HIV- adults, and better HRQOL is associated with better neurocognition among PWH. However, how Latinx PWH report HRQOL remains poorly understood. To date, no studies have examined HRQOL and neurocognition among Latinx PWH. Method. This study included 105 PWH (74% Latinx; 30% female; Mage=46.9, SD=8.72) who completed the Medical Outcomes Study HIV Health Survey (MOS-HIV) and a comprehensive neurocognitive battery. HRQOL was measured by the MOS-HIV, wherein higher mental and physical health summary scores (MHSS & PHSS) indicate better perceived health. Demographically-corrected T-scores were used to compute average global neurocognition and domain scores. Results. Latinx PWH had higher PHSS than Non-Latinx White (NLW) PWH (p<.05). Among Latinx PWH, MHSS was positively related to Global Neurocognition, Processing Speed, Learning, and Verbal Fluency (ps<.05). PHSS was only positively related to Processing Speed (p<.05). Among NLW PWH, neither MHSS nor PHSS were significantly related to neurocognition (ps>.05). Only MHSS uniquely contributed to the variance in Global Neurocognition. Both ethnicity and MHSS uniquely contributed to the variance in learning and memory domains. Conclusions. Latinx PWH reported better physical health than NLW PWH. However, only among Latinx PWH was better mental health related to better neurocognition. This may implicate the “Hispanic Health Paradox” and its contributing factors. The use of HRQOL measures may inform culturally-tailored treatments for Latinx PWH in order to address health disparities.