Archive for the ‘damaged brain’ Category

my damaged brain…?

In bblonde, damaged brain on 11/07/2006 at 1:57 am

So, I have a confession to make. I buy a single lottery ticket every wednesday, without fail. This past week a ‘friend’ informs me matter of factly that therapy may be required for what is clearly and obviously a gambling addiction. Luckily for her there weren’t any heavy object immediately discernable to throw but it did jostle my sensitive memory cells about the subject
Fact is, our perception of brain damage has never really extended to our own behavioral patterns, particularly when it involves recurring but non-intrusive compulsive activities like gambling. Even in the face of pretty concrete neurological evidence dating as far back as 2003, gambling is still categorized as an impulse control disorder, where even hard core pathological gamblers are considered ‘healthy’ with respect to their cognitive behavior. To save my failing brain (sigh) the trouble of summarizing badly, I have dug up for you gentle readers, the original abstract in its entirety innocently titled;

Brain damage and addictive behavior: a neuropsychological and electroencephalogram investigation with pathologic gamblers. Enjoy while I rip up my lottery ticket… ;

BACKGROUND: Gambling is a form of nonsubstance addiction classified as an impulse control disorder. Pathologic gamblers are considered healthy with respect to their cognitive status. Lesions of the frontolimbic systems, mostly of the right hemisphere, are associated with addictive behavior. Because gamblers are not regarded as “brain-lesioned” and gambling is nontoxic, gambling is a model to test whether addicted “healthy” people are relatively impaired in frontolimbic neuropsychological functions. METHODS: Twenty-one nonsubstance dependent gamblers and nineteen healthy subjects underwent a behavioral neurologic interview centered on incidence, origin, and symptoms of possible brain damage, a neuropsychological examination, and an electroencephalogram. RESULTS: Seventeen gamblers (81%) had a positive medical history for brain damage (mainly traumatic head injury, pre- or perinatal complications). The gamblers, compared with the controls, were significantly more impaired in concentration, memory, and executive functions, and evidenced a higher prevalence of non-right-handedness (43%) and, non-left-hemisphere language dominance (52%). Electroencephalogram (EEG) revealed dysfunctional activity in 65% of the gamblers, compared with 26% of controls. CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that the “healthy” gamblers are indeed brain-damaged. Compared with a matched control population, pathologic gamblers evidenced more brain injuries, more fronto-temporo-limbic neuropsychological dysfunctions and more EEG abnormalities. The authors thus conjecture that addictive gambling may be a consequence of brain damage, especially of the frontolimbic systems, a finding that may well have medicolegal consequences.
Dr.Regard M, Dr. Knoch D, Dr. Gutling E, Dr. Landis T.
Department of Neurology, University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland.