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Resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging analysis of the brain of pathological gamblers

  • Authors: G. Collura, M. Marrale, C. Gagliardo, G. Maniaci, T. Piccoli, G. La Tona, C. La Cascia, D. La Barbera, F. Picone, R. Lagalla, C. Cannizzaro
  • Publication year: 2018
  • Type: Abstract in rivista
  • OA Link:


Purpose . Gambling disorder has been recently reclassified under the category ‘‘substance-related and addictive disorders”. Recent studies performed through functional MRI (fMRI) have shown that the perseverance of some behaviors can alter brain activation [1,2]. In this work we aim at investigating functional connectivity changes in pathological gamblers (PGs) in comparison to healthy controls (HCs) by means of resting state functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (rs-fMRI). Methods and materials. Thirteen HCs and fourteen PGs were recruited (all right handed males; drugs free; mean age 36 ± 10 yrs). All acquisitions were performed through a 1,5 T MRI scanner using a 8-channels phased-array head coil. Multi-session temporal concatenated Independent Component Analysis (concat-ICA) was carried out to achieve activations information on functionally linked brain regions. The resulted components were then matched and compared between groups. Correction for multiple comparisons across space was applied assuming an overall significance of p < temporal gyrus, right insula, right cerebellar hemisphere cortex and cerebellar vermis. Conclusion. We can conclude that an hyperconnectivity together with an overactivation of specific regions is observed in PGs. The persistent activation of specific functional networks during gambling tasks might represent the neurofunctional basis of PGs statereduced triggering threshold to gaming underlying the clinical features of gambling disorder. These preliminary results confirms the crucial role of fMRI studies to investigate brain networks and their changes in specific clinical functional disorders.