Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study finds pathological gambling runs in families

17.03.2006


Problem gambling runs in families according to a University of Iowa study published online Feb. 24 in the journal Psychiatry Research. The study also found an excess of alcoholism, drug disorders and antisocial personality disorder in families with pathological gamblers.



This is the first study of its kind to include detailed family interviews of relatives of persons with pathological gambling, said Donald W. Black, M.D., professor of psychiatry in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine.

"Something is being passed along in these families that increases the persons’ likelihood of engaging in impulsive and ultimately self-destructive behavior. In some persons, it manifests as substance abuse, in others as antisocial behavior, and in others gambling, and often the three are combined," said Black, who has studied pathological gambling for the past eight years.


The study consisted of interviews of 31 pathological gamblers and 31 controls, and their respective first-degree relatives (parents, siblings and children).

"We looked at first-degree relatives because they theoretically share 50 percent of their genes with the pathological gambler or the control subject. If this disorder runs in families, it is most likely to cluster in those that you share more of your genes with," Black said.

Demonstrating that gambling runs in families is the first step in finding the gene or genes that underlie gambling, and Black hopes this study will lead to molecular genetic studies of pathological gambling. Further, Black believes that helping patients understand that pathological gambling runs in families will help them break the cycle.

The study found the average age of onset of pathological gambling was 36 years. For men, the average age was 34 years. For women, the problem developed at a later age, with an average age of onset of 39 years. Black said that women have a "compressed course," meaning that while they start gambling later in life, it reaches maximum severity more quickly.

More than half the pathological gamblers interviewed were either single, divorced or widowed, which was not true of the control group.

"Pathologic gamblers tend to have chaotic lives," Black said. "And when you add in other factors like alcoholism or antisocial personality disorder, the marital dysfunction becomes more understandable."

Black said that gambling problems have become widespread in the last 20 years, mainly due to easy access to gambling outlets. When those people who are predisposed to problem gambling are regularly exposed to gambling opportunities, they are much more likely to develop a problem.

Iowa sanctions casinos, racetracks, lottery, bingo and the new phenomenon of TouchPlay gambling machines in stores, as gambling outlets.

"Gambling is widespread in Iowa, and it has been claimed that Iowa has more forms of legalized gambling than any other state in the nation," Black said. "When you increase the opportunities, you increase the problem of gambling."

The study was funded through a grant from the National Center for Responsible Gaming.

Black will conduct a similar, but much larger, study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It will be about three times the size of the current study. Black hopes to affirm his findings, and after that, he would like to begin a molecular genetic study. The genetic study would require thousands of blood samples drawn from pathological gamblers in search of a gene responsible for predisposition to a gambling disorder.

"What we find with pathological gamblers is that they have this uncontrollable urge to gamble," Black said. "Ideally, it would be nice to discover a drug that would reliably interrupt that urge."

Becky Soglin | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uiowa.edu
http://www.uihealthcare.com

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Multi-year submarine-canyon study challenges textbook theories about turbidity currents

12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>