Document Type



Medicine and Health Sciences




The goal of the study was to test the validity of additive versus synergistic versus underadditive versions of brain reserve theory within the context of HIV/AIDS. In addition, it tested the convergent validity of 2 operational definitions of premorbid reserve: verbal IQ (VIQ) and a family history (FH) of substance abuse or dependence.


Seventy HIV-1 seronegative and 115 HIV-1 seropositive male and female volunteers were assigned to 4 subgroups defined by the crossing of a VIQ score < versus ≥ 90 with the presence versus absence of a paternal history of alcohol, cocaine, or opiate abuse or dependence. The principal dependent measure was the P300 event related brain potential elicited during the Stroop color-word interference task.


The principal finding was an underadditive effect of FH plus HIV/AIDS on P300 area over the frontal region: FH reduced frontal scalp P300 to such a degree that the additional effects of HIV/AIDS were blunted. The alternate operational definition of brain reserve, VIQ, had no effect on P300 and did not alter the effects of HIV/AIDS.


Familial risk for substance dependence and low VIQ compromise different aspects of brain structure and/or function and therefore differ in their relationship to HIV/AIDS and P300. Genetic differences associated with familial risk may reduce brain reserve to such a degree that the neurophysiological effects of HIV/AIDS can no longer be measured.


Drug Alcohol Depend. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2009 April 1. Published in final edited form as: Drug Alcohol Depend. 2008 April 1; 94(1-3): 92–100. Published online 2007 December 11. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2007.10.012 PMCID: PMC2270611 NIHMSID: NIHMS41863