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The impacts of HIV infection, age, and education on functional brain networks in adults with HIV.


HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) remain highly prevalent in people with HIV (PWH). Studies suggested that certain sociodemographic factors are associated with the risk of HAND in PWH. Here we investigated the impact of HIV infection and demographics on functional brain networks. One run of 8.5 min resting state functional MRI (fMRI) data was collected from 101 PWH (41-70 years old) and 40 demographically comparable controls. Functional connectivity (FC) was calculated using average wavelet coherence. The impact of demographic factors on FCs was investigated using canonical correlation analysis (CCA). Wavelet coherence analysis revealed a reduced within-network connectivity in the dorsal somatomotor network (dSMN), along with a reduced between-network connectivity between dSMN and medial temporal lobe (MTL) in PWH (compared to controls). Across all participants, CCA revealed that older age and HIV infection had negative impacts on network connectivity measures (mainly reduced within- and between-network FCs), whereas education had an opposite effect. In addition, being female at birth or a member of a minority ethnic/racial group was also associated with network disruptions. Our data suggested that advanced age and HIV infection are risk factors for functional brain network disruptions, whereas higher educational attainment was linked to better preserved functional network connectivity.

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