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Authors: Young-Chul Shin, Sam-Wook Choi, Juwon Ha, Jung-Seok Choi and Dai-Jin Kim

Background and Aims

To date, few studies have examined the clinical manifestation of disordered gamblers in financial markets. This study examined the differences in the clinical and treatment-related features of gambling disorder between financial markets and horse races.

Methods

Subjects who met the DSM-IV criteria for pathological gambling (PG) and who sought treatment were assessed by retrospective chart review. One hundred forty-four subjects were included in this sample, which consisted of the following groups: financial markets (n = 45; 28.6%) and horse races (n = 99; 71.4%).

Results

Multiple similar manifestations were found between the groups, including severity of PG, age of PG onset, amounts of gambling debts, drinking days per week, depressive mood, duration of seeking treatment after the onset of PG, and treatment follow-up duration. However, disordered gamblers who invested in the financial market were significantly more likely to be educated (p = 0.003), live with their spouses (p = 0.007), have full-time jobs (p = 0.006), and they were more likely to participate in the first type of gambling than the horse races group (p<0.001). Furthermore, the financial markets group received the anti-craving medication less often than the horse races group (p = 0.04).

Discussion and Conclusions

These findings suggest that disordered gamblers in financial markets show different socio-demographic, clinical and treatment-related features compared with the horse race gamblers, despite a similar severity of gambling disorder. Understanding these differential manifestations may provide insight into prevention and treatment development for specific types of gambling.

Open access

Background and aims

A single nucleotide polymorphism of A118G (SNP; rs1799971) in the opioid receptor μ-1 (OPRM1) gene is a missense variant that influences the affinity of μ-opioid receptors. This study aimed to investigate the associations among the A118G polymorphism in the OPRM1 gene, psychiatric symptoms, and quantitative electroencephalography (qEEG) findings in patients with gambling disorder.

Methods

Fifty-five male patients with gambling disorder aged between 18 and 65 years old participated in the study. The A118G polymorphism was genotyped into the AA, GA, and GG groups by the polymerase chain reaction/restriction fragment length polymorphism method. Resting-state qEEG was recorded with the eyes closed, and the absolute power of the delta (1–4 Hz), theta (4–8 Hz), alpha (8–12 Hz), and beta (12–30 Hz) frequency bands was analyzed. Psychiatric symptoms, including depression, anxiety, impulsivity and severity of gambling, were assessed by a self-rating scale.

Results

There were no significant differences in psychiatric symptoms among the three genotype groups (AA, GA, and GG). However, the frequency band power of qEEG showed significant differences among the three genotype groups. The absolute power of the beta and theta bands in the frontal lobe was higher in G allele carriers.

Discussion and conclusion

Based on the findings of this study, the polymorphism in the OPRM1 gene might affect the neurophysiological process in patients with gambling disorder.

Open access

Background and aims

This study aimed to evaluate the association between the severity of pathological gambling, serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) level, and the characteristics of quantitative electroencephalography (EEG) in patients with gambling disorder.

Methods

A total of 55 male patients aged 18–65 with gambling disorder participated. The severity of pathological gambling was assessed with the nine-item Problem Gambling Severity Index from the Canadian Problem Gambling Index (CPGI-PGSI). The Beck Depression Inventory and Lubben Social Network Scale were also assessed. Serum BDNF levels were assessed from blood samples. The resting-state EEG was recorded while the eyes were closed, and the absolute power of five frequency bands was analyzed: delta (1–4 Hz), theta (4–8 Hz), alpha (8–12 Hz), beta (12–30 Hz), and gamma (30–50 Hz).

Results

Serum BDNF level was positively correlated with theta power in the right parietal region (P4, r = .403, p = .011), beta power in the right parietal region (P4, r = .456, p = .010), and beta power in the right temporal region (T8, r = .421, p = .008). Gambling severity (CPGI-PGSI) was positively correlated with absolute beta power in the left frontal region (F7, r = .284, p = .043) and central region [(C3, r = .292, p = .038), (C4, r = .304, p = .030)].

Conclusions

These findings support the hypothesis that right-dominant lateralized correlations between BDNF and beta and theta power reflect right-dominant brain activation in addiction. The positive correlations between beta power and the severity of gambling disorder may be associated with hyperexcitability and increased cravings. These findings contribute to a better understanding of brain-based electrophysiological changes and BDNF levels in patients with pathological gambling.

Open access
Authors: Sam-Wook Choi, Dai-Jin Kim, Jung-Seok Choi, Heejune Ahn, Eun-Jeung Choi, Won-Young Song, Seohee Kim and Hyunchul Youn

Background and Aims

Smartphone addiction is a recent concern that has resulted from the dramatic increase in worldwide smartphone use. This study assessed the risk and protective factors associated with smartphone addiction in college students and compared these factors to those linked to Internet addiction.

Methods

College students (N = 448) in South Korea completed the Smartphone Addiction Scale, the Young’s Internet Addiction Test, the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, the Beck Depression Inventory I, the State–Trait Anxiety Inventory (Trait Version), the Character Strengths Test, and the Connor–Davidson Resilience Scale. The data were analyzed using multiple linear regression analyses.

Results

The risk factors for smartphone addiction were female gender, Internet use, alcohol use, and anxiety, while the protective factors were depression and temperance. In contrast, the risk factors for Internet addiction were male gender, smartphone use, anxiety, and wisdom/knowledge, while the protective factor was courage.

Discussion

These differences may result from unique features of smartphones, such as high availability and primary use as a tool for interpersonal relationships.

Conclusions

Our findings will aid clinicians in distinguishing between predictive factors for smartphone and Internet addiction and can consequently be utilized in the prevention and treatment of smartphone addiction.

Open access

Background and aims

Internet gaming disorder (IGD) has gained recognition as a potential new diagnosis in the fifth revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, but genetic evidence supporting this disorder remains scarce.

Methods

In this study, targeted exome sequencing was conducted in 30 IGD patients and 30 control subjects with a focus on genes linked to various neurotransmitters associated with substance and non-substance addictions, depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Results

rs2229910 of neurotrophic tyrosine kinase receptor, type 3 (NTRK3) was the only single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) that exhibited a significantly different minor allele frequency in IGD subjects compared to controls (p = .01932), suggesting that this SNP has a protective effect against IGD (odds ratio = 0.1541). The presence of this potentially protective allele was also associated with less time spent on Internet gaming and lower scores on the Young’s Internet Addiction Test and Korean Internet Addiction Proneness Scale for Adults.

Conclusions

The results of this first targeted exome sequencing study of IGD subjects indicate that rs2229910 of NTRK3 is a genetic variant that is significantly related to IGD. These findings may have significant implications for future research investigating the genetics of IGD and other behavioral addictions.

Open access
Authors: Sam-Wook Choi, Hyun Kim, Ga-Young Kim, Yeongju Jeon, Su Park, Jun-Young Lee, Hee Jung, Bo Sohn, Jung-Seok Choi and Dai-Jin Kim

Open access
Authors: Ji Yoon Lee, Su Mi Park, Yeon Jin Kim, Dai Jin Kim, Sam-Wook Choi, Jun Soo Kwon and Jung-Seok Choi

Background and aims

Impulsivity is a core feature of gambling disorder (GD) and is related to the treatment response. Thus, it is of interest to determine objective neurobiological markers associated with impulsivity in GD. We explored resting-state electroencephalographic (EEG) activity in patients with GD according to the degree of impulsivity.

Methods

In total, 109 GD subjects were divided into three groups according to Barratt impulsiveness scale-11 (BIS-11) scores: high (HI; 25th percentile of BIS-11 scores, n = 29), middle (MI; 26th–74th percentile, n = 57), and low-impulsivity (LI) groups (75th percentile, n = 23). We used generalized estimating equations to analyze differences in EEG absolute power considering group (HI, MI, and LI), brain region (frontal, central, and posterior), and hemisphere (left, midline, and right) for each frequency band (delta, theta, alpha, beta, and gamma).

Results

The results indicated that GD patients in the HI group showed decreased theta absolute power, and decreased alpha and beta absolute power in the left, right, particularly midline frontocentral regions.

Discussion and conclusions

This study is a novel attempt to reveal impulsive features in GD by neurophysiological methods. The results suggest different EEG patterns among GD patients according to the degree of impulsivity, raising the possibility of neurophysiological objective features in GD and helping clinicians in treating GD patients with impulsive features.

Open access
Authors: Sam-Wook Choi, Young-Chul Shin, Jung Yeon Mok, Dai-Jin Kim, Jung-Seok Choi and Samuel Suk-Hyun Hwang

Background and aims

Gambling disorder (GD) shares many similarities with substance use disorders (SUDs) in clinical, neurobiological, and neurocognitive features, including decision-making. We evaluated the relationships among, GD, decision-making, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), as measured by serum BDNF levels.

Methods

Twenty-one male patients with GD and 21 healthy sex- and age-matched control subjects were evaluated for associations between serum BDNF levels and the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI), as well as between serum BDNF levels and Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) indices.

Results

The mean serum BDNF levels were significantly increased in patients with GD compared to healthy controls. A significant correlation between serum BDNF levels and PGSI scores was found when controlling for age, depression, and duration of GD. A significant negative correlation was obtained between serum BDNF levels and IGT improvement scores.

Discussion

These findings support the hypothesis that serum BDNF levels constitute a dual biomarker for the neuroendocrine changes and the severity of GD in patients. Serum BDNF level may serve as an indicator of poor decision-making performance and learning processes in GD and help to identify the common physiological underpinnings between GD and SUDs.

Open access