Background Gambling disorder is a relatively common psychiatric disorder recently re-classified within the DSM-5 under the category of 'substance-related and addictive disorders'. Aims To compare white matter integrity in patients with gambling disorder with healthy controls; to explore relationships between white matter integrity and disease severity in gambling disorder. Method In total, 16 participants with treatment-resistant gambling disorder and 15 healthy controls underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). White matter integrity was analysed using tract-based spatial statistics. Results Gambling disorder was associated with reduced fractional anisotropy in the corpus callosum and superior longitudinal fasciculus. Fractional anisotropy in distributed white matter tracts elsewhere correlated positively with disease severity. Conclusions Reduced corpus callosum fractional anisotropy is suggestive of disorganised/damaged tracts in patients with gambling disorder, and this may represent a trait/vulnerability marker for the disorder. Future research should explore these measures in a larger sample, ideally incorporating a range of imaging markers (for example functional MRI) and enrolling unaffected first-degree relatives of patients.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by a grant from the National Center for Responsible Gaming to J.E.G. and by a grant to S.R.C. from the Academy of Medical Sciences.
©The Royal College of Psychiatrists 2016.
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