Neural sensitivity to risk in adults with co-occurring HIV infection and cocaine use disorder.
Persons with co-occurring HIV infection and cocaine use disorder tend to engage in riskier decision-making. However, the neural correlates of sensitivity to risk are not well-characterized in this population. The purpose of this study was to examine the neural interaction effects of HIV infection and cocaine use disorder to sensitivity to risk. The sample included 79 adults who differed on HIV status and cocaine use disorder. During functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), participants completed a Wheel of Fortune (WoF) task that assessed neural activation in response to variations of monetary risk (i.e., lower probability of winning a larger reward). Across groups, neural activation to increasing risk was in cortical and subcortical regions similar to previous investigations using the WoF in nondrug-using populations. Our analyses showed that there was a synergistic effect between HIV infection and cocaine use in the left precuneus/posterior cingulate cortex and hippocampus, and right postcentral gyrus, lateral occipital cortex, cerebellum, and posterior parietal cortex. HIV+ individuals with cocaine use disorder displayed neural hyperactivation to increasing risk that was not observed in the other groups. These results support a synergistic effect of co-occurring HIV infection and cocaine dependence in neural processing of risk probability that may reflect compensation. Future studies can further investigate and validate how neural activation to increasing risk is associated with risk-taking behavior.
Bell, RP; Towe, SL; Lalee, Z; Huettel, SA; Meade, CS
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