MRI Studies of Emotion, Addiction and Impulse Control Disorders (HIC# 0203014534)
The laboratory uses a variety of neurocognitive tasks that have been adapted for the fMRI environment in order to closely examine brain regions involved in the processing of reward, emotion and motivation. These tasks focus on cognitive control, responses to rewards and punishments, as well as impulsive choice and risk-taking. The results of these studies have implications for understanding the biological underpinnings of a range of disorders of motivation; further, the administration of these tasks in a variety of populations with substance dependence and non-substance addictions will allow for direct comparisons between different disorders.
Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Investigation of Naltrexone for Pathological Gambling (HIC# 0901004667)
This study seeks to replicate and extend the promising findings from previous clinical trials of opioid antagonists in the treatment of pathological gambling (PG). Specifically, we are investigating the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of the opioid antagonist naltrexone in PG in conjunction with treatment as usual in a state-supported treatment program. Opioid antagonists such as naltrexone and nalmefene, possibly through their modulation of the mesolimbic dopamine system, have demonstrated preliminary efficacy in treating PG. As with substance use disorders, it has been suggested that opioid antagonists may exert their therapeutic benefit by helping to reduce the appetitive urges or cravings present in addictions. We hypothesize that naltrexone will be superior to placebo in reducing gambling urges and behavior, when combined with non-pharmacological treatment as usual.
Neuropsychological Testing in Pathological Gambling (HIC# 11937)
This study utilizes computerized neuropsychological tests which assess the following cognitive domains: 1) Executive Function; 2) Verbal and Working Memory; and 3) Attention/Concentration.
Association and linkage studies of psychiatric illness(HIC# 5841)
This study investigates how psychiatric disorders are inherited. We are interested in studying how psychiatric disorders occur in families together and also in finding genes that contribute to the development of psychiatric illness, particularly pathological gambling.