Entries in Gambling (2)


Sleep Deprivation May Lead to 'Optimism Bias,' Study Suggests

BananaStock/Thinkstock(DURHAM, N.C.) -- People who suffer from sleep deprivation may possess the tendency to make overly optimistic decisions, thus making them more likely to take larger financial risks -- particularly when gambling, according to a recent Duke University study.

Researchers in the study, published this week in the Journal of Neuroscience, asked 29 healthy adults to perform a series of gambling tasks after one normal night of sleep and again after staying up all night.

Next, the investigators took MRI scans of each volunteer and found that those who had been deprived of sleep had heightened activity in areas of the brain that assessed positive outcomes, while more rested individuals showed decreased activity in the areas that process negative outcomes.

"Using a risky decision-making task, we showed that sleep deprivation shifted most persons' bias from avoiding loss to pursuing gain," reported the Duke University researchers in North Carolina and Singapore.

The researchers concluded that lack of sleep "appears to create an optimism bias; for example, participants behave as if positive consequences are more likely (or more valuable) and as if negative consequences are less likely (or less harmful)."

That said, lead author Vinod Venkatraman, a Duke graduate student Psychology and Neuroscience, suggests that merely drinking caffeine or exercising are not enough to battle the effects of sleep deprivation.

"Late-night gamblers are fighting more than just the unfavorable odds of gambling machines; they are fighting a sleep-deprived brain's tendency to implicitly seek gains while discounting the impact of potential losses," he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Man Sues Drug Maker Over Gambling, Gay Sex Addiction

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NANTES, France) -- Didier Jambart, 51, of Nantes, France, is suing the British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, claiming the drug he took to treat his Parkinson's symptoms, Requip, turned him into a gambling and gay sex addict.

The married father of two said he blew through his family's savings and even took to stealing to finance his online gambling habit, the French Press Agency reported.  He also became addicted to gay sex and risky sexual encounters that led to him being raped, his lawyers said.

Parkinson's disease destroys neurons deep within the brain that release the "feel-good" neurotransmitter dopamine.  Requip belongs to a class of drugs called dopamine agonists that relieve motor symptoms, such as shaking, stiffness, slowness and trouble balancing, by activating dopamine receptors.  But the drugs have side effects that, while rare, are serious.

"There are plenty of reports of people developing side effects from Parkinson's drugs, such as hypersexuality, gambling and excessive shopping," said Dr. David Standaert, professor and interim chairman of neurology and director of the Center for Neurodegeneration and Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  "It's uncommon, but very dramatic when it happens."

It's estimated that 13.6 percent of people with Parkinson's disease who take dopamine agonists experience behavioral side effects, according to Dr. Mark Stacy, a neurologist at Duke University Medical Center, who first linked the drugs to gambling in 2000.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio