"Evaluation of psycho-social factors during transition from HIV

davide gatta dgatta at IPER.NET
Sat Mar 2 08:31:29 EST 1996

Technical report on research project:
 "Evaluation of psycho-social factors during transition from HIV =

infection toward AIDS"

1. Research overview
The research group started with an on field observation: "there are =

some individuals, infected by HIV virus, that does not acquire any =

immunodeficiency syndrome even after ten or more years from infection" (lon=
g survivors). This "surprising fact" (in Pierce point of view) lead us to f=
orm the hypothesis that immunodeficiency, viewed as a progressive decreasin=
g in CD4 cells and observed in individuals infected by HIV virus, could not=
 be understood as time only dependent  syndrome but others factors should p=
lay a role. Thus "long survivors" could be explained with a good and strong=
  immuno-system response. This leads to another question: "Wich  factors ar=
e involved in immuno-system response ?" A possible answer can be that the i=
mmuno-system is be affected not only by his genetic configuration but also =
by others factors involving psychological environment. If this answer is fa=
lse we should find that factors derived from recent and remote stress event=
s and psychological reaction schemes should not affect the pattern from HIV=
+ to AIDS.

2. The Hypothesis
The hypothesis that we go to verify or falsify in this research is: =

"The immunological response in HIV infection is modified by following =

psychological factors: recent and remote events and psychological =

reaction scheme mostly used by individuals".

3. Research assumptions
We assume that the CD4 cells decrement observed in drug addict =

individuals infected by HIV virus does not depends only on time but =

also on others factors. We view AIDS as a multi-variate syndrome =

where biologicals, psychologicals and even socials factors play an =

important role. In detail we consider important following areas of =

- area 1: CD4 state
- area 2: HIV+ progression toward AIDS
- area 3: recent and remote stress events impact.
- area 4: psychological reaction scheme

4. Research aims
The experimental design is expected to survey almost 500 cases of =

drug addict individuals infected by HIV virus. Data survey should =

identify, for each individual, the HIV+ to AIDS pattern (rapid, =

typical or slow) and correlate it to other factors (remote and =

recent events, reaction scheme) in order to verify or falsify the =

research hypothesis. To achieve this target a logical/mathematical =

model should be constructed and should explain the HIV+ to AIDS =

pattern. After this an AI correlated software program will be =

constructed in order to serve as investigating tool.

5. Software requirements
The software, wich name is SIDAEval, should be an Expert system =

suitable for Personal Computers running with Windows 3.1 or higher =

operative system. The logical model will be implemented using =

logical calculus, neural networks and fuzzy logic correlated =

methodologies. User interface should be as simple and as friendly =

as possible thus allowing the system to be operated also by non =

pc-expert users.

6. Research time schedule
The research started in April 1995. In January 1996 the logical =

model and SIDAEval software construction phases was terminated. =

Research now continue with 500 cases survey using software. =

Research should be concluded before end of 1996.

To get more info about the project contact one of the following :

Davide Gatta, data retrieval and internet consultant [dgatta at iper.net]	=

Leonardo Montecchi, psychiatrist [lmontecc at iper.net]
Mario Motta, knowledge engineer [mmotta at iper.net]
Giampaolo Proni, semiologist [gproni at iper.net]

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