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Works in Progress. Tim and the Gambling Gang a.k.a. GAG (gambling addiction group) 12.2.04. UCLA Gambling Studies Program. Program Building: Research Treatment Education / Prevention Policy Making Visibility. Our current Gambling Team . Alice Davis on Project Coordination

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works in progress

Works in Progress

Tim and the Gambling Gang

a.k.a. GAG

(gambling addiction group)


ucla gambling studies program
UCLA Gambling Studies Program

Program Building:



Education / Prevention

Policy Making


our current gambling team
Our current Gambling Team
  • Alice Davis on Project Coordination
  • Candace Oto on Work Study
  • Richard Rosenthal on Ideas / Senior Leadership
current climate
Current climate
  • Few gambling treatment providers in LA
  • No state-funded treatment (coming soon)
  • No insurance reimbursement
  • Few gambling researchers out West
  • Gambling grows in CA - $10 bill/decade
  • Poker rising: fad with consequences
  • Many alarmists but small voices
main research interests
Main research interests
  • Understanding what makes PG tick (why can’t they stop?)
    • Impulsivity
    • Stress
    • Psychological / Social Contributors
  • Developing a treatment system in CA that works
  • Understanding what PG does do the body and brain?
    • Medical , psychological consequences
ongoing studies
Ongoing Studies

Pre-pulse inhibition and pathological gambling

N= 12 gamblers

Prelim results = impaired acoustic startle (less PPI, suggesting altered dopamine processes)

Recruiting matched controls

Brian and Alice are working on it . .

ongoing studies1
Ongoing Studies
  • Delayed Discounting and Gamblers
  • N=12 gamblers
  • Within-subject effect of context showing more impulsivity in the casino vs. lab
  • Controls being recruited
  • POMS and VAS data to be analyzed
ongoing studies2
Ongoing Studies
  • Neuropsychological Performance of Gamblers
  • Same Gamblers as PPI
  • Prelim look shows impaired frontal lobe processing – reaction time, Trails
  • Matched controls coming. . .
ongoing studies3
Ongoing Studies
  • Topiramate in Pathological Gambling
  • Expected start date: Jan 2005
  • N= 16, double –blind placebo controlled, 16 weeks
  • Sponsored by Ortho McNeil, multi-site. Non-competitive enrollment
piggybacks to topiramate
Piggybacks to Topiramate
  • Health Status Questionnaire
  • Life stress measures
  • Cognitive Battery: Baseline, during and post trial
pending grants
Pending Grants
  • Awaiting K award comments (submitted 6/04), for “Impulsivity and Pathological Gambling”. Round One
  • Awaiting NARSAD comments for “Depression and pathological gambling”
  • PNI Seed Grant: Gambling arm of Tom and Rich’s Yohimbine Project
grants in preparation
Grants In Preparation

Institute for Research on Pathological Gambling and Related Disorders (Harvard)

“The impact of chronic and acute stress on pathological gamblers”

Due: Feb 2005

specific aims
Specific Aims:

I. To compare the number of chronic stressful life events between machine pathological gamblers, non-machine pathological gamblers and non-gambling controls.

II. To evaluate the impact of chronic stress on machine pathological gamblers, non-machine pathological gamblers and non-gambling controls through assessments of psychological distress, psychological coping strategies to stress, perceived responses to stress and measurements of health status

III. To demonstrate the differential objective and subjective responses to stress between machine pathological gamblers, non-machine pathological gamblers and non-gambling controls on an acute, experimental stressor (a public speaking task).

grants in preparation1
Grants In Preparation
  • Anxiety Disorders Association of America
  • Junior Faculty Research Award
  • “Impact of Stress Between OCD and PG”

Main idea: Are OCD and PG the same animal? How do they respond to stress?

specific aims1
Specific Aims

1. To characterize the neurophysiological and neuropsychological responses of patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) to an acute stressor task.

We hypothesize that subjects with OCD will demonstrate an amplified stress response as compared to control subjects without OCD.

2. To differentiate neurophysiological and neuropsychological responses to an acute stressor task between subjects with pathological gambling and subjects with obsessive-compulsive disorder

We hypothesize that pathological gamblers will respond similarly to obsessive-compulsive disordered subjects in some but not all of the stress response measurements.

3. To examine which subtypes of pathological gamblers, specifically machine gamblers versus non-machine gamblers, demonstrate similar characteristics to patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

We hypothesize that machine gamblers will more closely obsessive-compulsive disorder than non-machine gamblers in terms of personality features, cognitions and symptomatology.

grants to consider
Grants To Consider

American Psychiatric Foundation

education/media project?


partnering with MATRIX on college prevention

Alcohol Beverage Medical Foundation

“Alcohol and PG”

examine mechanisms of how alcohol affects impulsivity or gambling

grants to consider1
Grants to consider
  • R21
    • Collaborations with Monterosso/London on imaging and using stop-signal task?
  • Conference Grants
    • On “impulsivity” and “risk-taking behaviors”
recent publications
Recent Publications

Situational Needs Assessment of Problem Gambling Services in California. Prepared for California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs. November 2004

The etiology of pathological gambling. Ready for launch

Topiramate and compulsive sex. Submitted.

ongoing manuscripts
Ongoing Manuscripts
  • Biopsychosocial Consequences of PG (invited)
  • Review of Outcome Instruments of PG
  • Olanzapine and PG
  • Motivations and Expectations of PG
  • Screening for PG in SUD Research (commentatry)
political networking
Political Networking


Office of Problem Gambling (DADP)

Future RFPs: prevention/treatment.

Courts: Gambling Courts?

Insurance Commissioner

political networking1
Political Networking

Casino Industry

Card Clubs

Self-Exclusion Project: On-line but not action

Native Americans

How do we make then an offer that they cannot refuse?

political networking2
Political Networking
  • Asian Coalition
    • Grass-roots organization
      • Churches, lawmakers, asian substance abuse providers, families, interested civilians