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Brain Imaging and Behavior

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 611–620 | Cite as

Thalamic volume deficit contributes to procedural and explicit memory impairment in HIV infection with primary alcoholism comorbidity

  • Rosemary Fama
  • Margaret J. Rosenbloom
  • Stephanie A. Sassoon
  • Torsten Rohlfing
  • Adolf Pfefferbaum
  • Edith V. Sullivan
Original Research

Abstract

Component cognitive and motor processes contributing to diminished visuomotor procedural learning in HIV infection with comorbid chronic alcoholism (HIV+ALC) include problems with attention and explicit memory processes. The neural correlates associated with this constellation of cognitive and motor processes in HIV infection and alcoholism have yet to be delineated. Frontostriatal regions are affected in HIV infection, frontothalamocerebellar regions are affected in chronic alcoholism, and frontolimbic regions are likely affected in both; all three of these systems have the potential of contributing to both visuomotor procedural learning and explicit memory processes. Here, we examined the neural correlates of implicit memory, explicit memory, attention, and motor tests in 26 HIV+ALC (5 with comorbidity for nonalcohol drug abuse/dependence) and 19 age-range matched healthy control men. Parcellated brain volumes, including cortical, subcortical, and allocortical regions, as well as cortical sulci and ventricles, were derived using the SRI24 brain atlas. Results indicated that smaller thalamic volumes were associated with poorer performance on tests of explicit (immediate and delayed) and implicit (visuomotor procedural) memory in HIV+ALC. By contrast, smaller hippocampal volumes were associated with lower scores on explicit, but not implicit memory. Multiple regression analyses revealed that volumes of both the thalamus and the hippocampus were each unique independent predictors of explicit memory scores. This study provides evidence of a dissociation between implicit and explicit memory tasks in HIV+ALC, with selective relationships observed between hippocampal volume and explicit but not implicit memory, and highlights the relevance of the thalamus to mnemonic processes.

Keywords

Visuomotor procedural learning Implicit memory Explicit memory Thalamus Hippocampus HIV infection-alcoholism comorbidity 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was supported by grants from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism AA017347, AA005965, AA010723, and AA017168.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosemary Fama
    • 1
    • 2
  • Margaret J. Rosenbloom
    • 1
    • 2
  • Stephanie A. Sassoon
    • 2
  • Torsten Rohlfing
    • 2
  • Adolf Pfefferbaum
    • 1
    • 2
  • Edith V. Sullivan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesStanford University School of Medicine (MC5723)StanfordUSA
  2. 2.Neuroscience ProgramSRI InternationalMenlo ParkUSA

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