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Nat Neurosci. 2005 Feb;8(2):147-8. Epub 2005 Jan 9.

Pathological gambling is linked to reduced activation of the mesolimbic reward system.

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  • 1NeuroImage Nord, Department of Neurology, Hamburg University Hospital Eppendorf, Martinistr. 52, 20246 Hamburg, Germany.


By analogy to drug dependence, it has been speculated that the underlying pathology in pathological gambling is a reduction in the sensitivity of the reward system. Studying pathological gamblers and controls during a guessing game using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we observed a reduction of ventral striatal and ventromedial prefrontal activation in the pathological gamblers that was negatively correlated with gambling severity, linking hypoactivation of these areas to disease severity.

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