Gambling alters brain

Gambling alters brain

A latest report says that gambling alters brain. A Californian study claims that gamblers are not made but born and gambling is actually a biological behavior.


Scientists from Monash University reported that gambling is influenced by specific dopamine-regulating genes present in an individual’s brain.


Dopamine is a chemical released by brain cells that transmits signal to other brain cells which is a part that comprises of brain’s reward and pleasure-seeking system.


For the first time, scientists from Monash University will be using a combination of MRI scans, psychological tests and questionnaires to identify the variation between the brains of people who categorize themselves as habitual gamblers, and those who don’t gamble.


The study will be carried out in collaboration between Monash Clinic and Imaging Neuroscience (MCIN) group at Monash University and the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation and Turning Point to identify various types of problem gambling.


“Gambling is considered an acceptable leisure activity, and for most people it is,” MCIN Director Professor Murat Y-cel said. “But it’s hard to ignore these alarming statistics. An increasing number of people are unable to control their gambling. Instead of being a bit of harmless fun, it becomes a major problem that people struggle to control, impacting every aspect of a person’s life.


“We urgently need more research to understand why some people develop an addiction and some don’t. With this information we can develop targeted support for each individual,” he added.


The tests will help scientists to study the brain of a regular gambler and will provide a clear picture of the reason behind their habit. This in turn will help in treating problem gambling.


“Problem gambling is very complex, there are many elements at play. For example, two people could be sitting side by side at the pokies for hours on end doing exactly the same thing for very different reasons,” Professor Murat Y-cel said.


“The challenge is to get to know these reasons by building a very detailed understanding of the psychological and neurobiological processes that drive or maintain gambling for different individuals. In doing so we can develop individually tailored treatments,” Professor Y-cel added.

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