Research Snapshots: Drs. Ron Cohen and Vaughn Bryant

Image of a brain with superimposed connection points over it
Brain connectivity analyses examining HIV and alcohol interaction when seeding in the left inferior parietal lobule. Darker shades of red = stronger connectivity. Darker shades of blue = weaker connectivity.

A study led by UF neuroscientists, published in Current HIV Research, demonstrated that individuals with past heavy alcohol use exhibit functional connectivity differences in the brain. Specifically, they showed decreased connectivity in frontoparietal networks, which play a key role in executive function, and increased connectivity to reward specific and default mode specific regions, which can increase risky behaviors. The presence of HIV also related to greater frontoparietal dysfunction.

Connectivity analyses were conducted using data from 50 adults, 26 of whom were HIV positive, who engaged in an n-back working memory task.

These findings allow for a better understanding of brain networks affected by HIV and alcohol and may provide avenues for interventions.

The study was led by Vaughn E. Bryant, Ph.D., a postdoc in UF’s departments of epidemiology and clinical and health psychology and Ron A. Cohen, Ph.D., UF’s Evelyn F. McKnight Chair for Clinical Translational Research in Cognitive Aging.

Read the paper in Current HIV Research.