Imaging the gambling brain


Neuroimaging studies examining the neurobiological basis of gambling disorder (GD) have increased over the past decade. Functional magnetic resonance imaging studies during appetitive cue and reward processing tasks demonstrate altered functioning in frontostriatal brain areas, including the ventral striatum and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Findings suggest differences in how the anticipation and outcome of rewards are processed in individuals with GD. Future research requires larger sample sizes and should include appropriate clinical reference groups. Overall, studies to date highlight a common pathophysiology between substance-based addictions and GD, the latter offering a unique condition in which to examine nonchemical factors in addiction.

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