University of Minnesota researchers have discovered that N-acetyl cysteine, a common amino acid available as a health food supplement, may help curb pathological gamblers’ addiction.
In a recent eight-week trial, 27 people were given increasing doses of the amino acid, which has an impact on the chemical glutamate – often associated with reward in the brain. At the end of the trial, 60 percent of the participants reported fewer urges to gamble.
“It looks very promising,” said Jon Grant, J.D., M.D., a University of Minnesota associate professor of psychiatry and principal investigator of the study. “We were able to reduce people’s urges to gamble.”
Those who responded well in the first round of the study were asked to continue to participate in a double-blind study – a testing method where neither the researcher nor subjects know who is in the control group until the study is finished.
Of the 16 who responded to the amino acid the first time around, 13 agreed to continue in the double-blind study (three didn’t want to risk quitting the drug) for an additional six weeks. About 83 percent who received the supplement, continued to report fewer urges to gamble. Nearly 72 percent of those who took the placebo went back to gambling.
Similar studies using N-acetyl cysteine have shown its ability to curb drug addictions in animals, and a current University of Minnesota study conducted by Grant is investigating whether the drug could help methamphetamine users quit.
“This research could be encouraging for a lot of addictions,” Grant said.
This pilot study is the first to examine the efficacy of a glutamate-modulating agent in the treatment of pathological gamblers, making the findings fairly significant, Grant said.
Because subjects knew they were taking a supplement during the first phase of the study and since there was a relatively small number of subjects in the double-blind portion, a larger study is warranted to confirm the validity of these findings. University of Minnesota researchers are currently seeking a federal grant to fund it.
- Biological Psychiatry, September 2007.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Science Left Behind: The Anti-Vaccine Update Update
- Moderate Pot Use By Adolescents Doesn't Hurt IQ
- What Americans Fear Most Isn't Ebola Or Terrorism, It's...
- Finding Fracking Fluids In The Environment
- Ashes And Vegetables: The Diet Of Roman Gladiators Was Rather Poor
- Manly Men And Feminine Women Are Not Evolutionary Mandates - They Are Urban Ones
- Dopamine Receptor Agonist Drugs Linked To Gambling And Hypersexuality
- "dog is man's best friend and if you are looking for pet medication there are many websites on the..."
- "Good comment shining genji, but some people do not need fancy arguments to uphold their status..."
- "The terms you use repeatedly and your circlic logic reeks of one religious group, maybe you just..."
- "why are you in all the arguments? Teach me how to get into more arguments. Also, teach me wft to..."
- "So if spirituality is selected for, that has nothing to do with evolution. If that is the case..."
- An end to fat shaming? The 50 year DNA mystery of metabolic dysfunction may soon be solved
- Egg freezing: a smart career move?
- Despite resistance, China will dominate future of GMOs
- Should Science and Nature run advertorial by wacky Dr. Bronner’s that misleads on GMOs?
- Jack the Ripper’s identity remains a mystery after error in DNA analysis revealed
- Seed patent primer: Is the use of GMOs preventing farmers from reusing their seeds?
- Teenage self-harm linked to problems in later life
- Unsteady on your feet? Little touches could make all the difference
- Promising blood biomarkers identified for colorectal cancer: Is a screening blood test within reach?
- Studies must be carried out to determine whether exercise slows the onset of type 1 diabetes in children and adults
- Clot dissolver tPA's tardy twin could aid in stroke recovery