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Publication Abstract Display
Type: Poster
Title: Effect of combined HIV infection and methamphetamine dependence on spatial working memory.
Authors: Patt VM, Kreitner D, Weber E, Henry B, Cherner M, Brown GG, Geyer MA, Perry W, Minassian A, Grant I
Date: 02-15-2018
Abstract:Objective: Working Memory (WM) the active brain system that provides temporary storage and manipulation of information involves brain circuitries closely overlapping those affected by methamphetamine (Meth) neurotoxicity, especially the dopamine-abundant prefrontal cortex. Meth use is frequent among HIV-infected individuals, with results from human studies and animal models suggesting increased risk of cognitive impairment in combined HIV infection and Meth use. This project examines the combined effects of HIV infection and Meth dependence on spatial WM, a key aspect of WM dealing with information pertaining to orientation and location in space.Participants and Methods: Participants were recruited through the NIDA-funded Translational Methamphetamine AIDS Research Center (TMARC). They included individuals with a documented history of Meth dependence (n=28), a diagnosis of HIV infection (n=23), combined Meth dependence and HIV infection (n=27), and neuromedically healthy individuals (n=30). A computerized spatial span paradigm was constructed based on the Corsi Block Task, requiring remembering a series of targets changing from white to gray in a specific order. Results: Average performance was found to decline with age (F=27.3, p<.001, η2=.21), but was not impacted by education (F=1.8, p=.181, η2=.02). After accounting for age and education, there was a significant negative effect of Meth (F=10.2, p=.002, η2=.09), but no significant effect of HIV (F=0.1, p=.762, η2=.001) and no interaction of Meth and HIV (F=1.4, p=.236, η2=.01). Conclusions: Spatial WM constitutes a fluid neurocognitive ability that declines with age but is independent from educational background. HIV infection in the era of antiretroviral therapy (ART) does not appear to affect spatial WM abilities as measured by this instrument. On the other hand, impaired spatial WM may constitute a distinguishing feature of Meth dependence. Cognitive interventions targeting spatial WM may thus be useful to improve functional levels in Meth-dependent individuals.

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