Effects of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection and Former Cocaine Dependence on Neuroanatomical Measures and Neurocognitive Performance

Kathryn Mary Wakim, Edward G. Freedman, Madalina E. Tivarus, Zachary Christensen, Sophie Molholm, John J. Foxe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Evidence from animal research, postmortem analyses, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) investigations indicate substantial morphological alteration in brain structure as a function of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or cocaine dependence (CD). Although previous research on HIV+ active cocaine users suggests the presence of deleterious morphological effects in excess of either condition alone, a yet unexplored question is whether there is a similar deleterious interaction in HIV+ individuals with CD who are currently abstinent. To this end, the combinatorial effects of HIV and CD history on regional brain volume, cortical thickness, and neurocognitive performance was examined across four groups of participants in an exploratory study: healthy controls (n = 34), HIV-negative individuals with a history of CD (n = 21), HIV+ individuals with no history of CD (n = 20), HIV+ individuals with a history of CD (n = 15). Our analyses revealed no statistical evidence of an interaction between both conditions on brain morphometry and neurocognitive performance. While descriptively, individuals with comorbid HIV and a history of CD exhibited the lowest neurocognitive performance scores, using Principle Component Analysis of neurocognitive testing data, HIV was identified as the primary driver of neurocognitive impairment. Higher caudate volume was evident in CD+ participants relative to CD− participants. Findings indicate no evidence of compounded differences in neurocognitive function or structural measures of brain integrity in HIV+ individuals in recovery from CD relative to individuals with only one condition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-90
Number of pages14
StatePublished - Oct 15 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Addiction
  • HIV-associated Neurocognitive Disorder
  • MRI
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Recovery
  • Structural

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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