Navigation Links
UBC researchers develop new method to study gambling addictions
Date:6/17/2009

UBC researchers have created the world's first animal laboratory experiment to successfully model human gambling. The advance will help scientists develop and test new treatments for gambling addictions, a devastating condition that affects millions worldwide.

In addition to showing that rats can "play the odds," the study finds that gambling decisions can be impaired or improved with drugs that affect brain dopamine and serotonin levels suggesting that these neurotransmitters may moderate gambling behaviour.

"For most individuals, gambling is enjoyable and harmless, but for others, it is as destructive as being addicted to drugs," says Catharine Winstanley, an assistant professor in UBC's Dept. of Psychology, whose study was published today in the Nature journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

"This new model is an important next step because the neurobiological basis of gambling is still poorly understood and few treatment options exist," adds Winstanley, noting that gamblers experience higher rates of divorce, suicide and crime than non-gamblers. "It brings us a step closer to the goal of drug-based treatments for people suffering from gambling disorders."

For the study, rats had a limited amount of time in which to choose between four gambling options which were associated with the delivery of different numbers of sugar pellets. If the animals won the gamble, they received the associated reward. However, if they lost, they experienced a time-out period during which reward could not be earned.

High-risk options offered more potential sugar pellets but also the possibility of more frequent and longer timeouts. Rats learned how to be successful gamblers, selecting the option with the optimum level of risk and reward to maximize their sugar pellet profits.

The study found that rodents treated with drugs that reduced their levels of serotonin levels associated with impulse control in humans dramatically reduced their ability to play the odds. A drug that reduced dopamine levels associated with pleasure in humans improved their ability to optimize profits. The findings are consistent with recent clinical findings in humans, helping to validate the technique as a model for studying human gambling behaviours.

"We hope this will speed up the development of gambling treatments for humans by giving us a working model to explore drugs and therapies," says Winstanley.

In future studies, Winstanley says she will seek to replicate other aspects of human gambling behaviours, including "loss-chasing" when a gambler follows a loss with a high-risk gamble and the "near-miss effect," when a near-win motivates individuals to continue gambling.


'/>"/>

Contact: Basil Waugh
basil.waugh@ubc.ca
604-822-2048
University of British Columbia
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. UCLA cancer researchers develop model that may help identify cancer stem cells
2. Researchers from around the globe coming to K-State June 21 for workshop on Fusarium fungus
3. Duke, Harvard researchers to monitor bonobo reintroduction
4. Rice University researchers ask if biofuels will lead to a drink or drive
5. Aussie and Kiwi researchers make double MS genetic discovery
6. Researchers describe implausible chemistry that produces herbicidal compound
7. Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona researchers first to clone mice in Spain
8. Protein that triggers plant cell division revealed by researchers
9. Researchers create freestanding nanoparticle films without fillers
10. Researchers identify new risk factor gene for rheumatoid arthritis
11. Researchers shed light on trading behavior in animals -- and humans
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
UBC researchers develop new method to study gambling addictions
(Date:4/19/2016)... UAE, April 20, 2016 The ... as a compact web-based "all-in-one" system solution for all ... fingerprint reader or the door interface with integration authorization ... access control systems. The minimal dimensions of the access ... into the building installations offer considerable freedom of design ...
(Date:4/14/2016)... April 14, 2016 BioCatch ... Detection, today announced the appointment of Eyal Goldwerger ... role. Goldwerger,s leadership appointment comes at a ... of the deployment of its platform at several of ... technology, which discerns unique cognitive and physiological factors, is ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... R.I. , March 31, 2016  Genomics firm ... of founding CEO, Barrett Bready , M.D., who ... members of the original technical leadership team, including Chief ... President of Product Development, Steve Nurnberg and Vice President ... returned to the company. Dr. Bready served ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Rolf ... join the faculty of the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School ... and entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler, with a focus on the school’s international efforts, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... While the majority of commercial spectrophotometers and fluorometers use the ... models are higher end machines that use the more unconventional z-dimension of 20mm. ... the bottom of the cuvette holder. , FireflySci has developed several Agilent flow ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced the creation ... biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" or "the ... a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors for the ... WDR5 represent an exciting class of therapies, possessing ... for cancer patients. Substantial advances have been achieved ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June, 23, 2016  The Biodesign Challenge ... envision new ways to harness living systems and biotechnology, ... Art (MoMA) in New York City ... 130 participating students, showcased projects at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos ... Paola Antonelli , MoMA,s senior curator of architecture and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: