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NCRG AWARDS GRANTS TO FUND SEVEN RESEARCH PROJECTS IN 2013

by: NCRG Staff | Oct 30, 2013

Earlier this month, the NCRG announced that the organization has awarded $751,951 this year to support seven new research projects that will help improve methods of diagnosis, intervention, treatment and prevention of gambling disorders.

Here’s a list of the research projects that received funding from the NCRG:

Travel Grants

  • “Do Pathological Gamblers Suffer from a Distorted Sensitivity to Reward?” – Guillaume Sescousse, Ph.D., of the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior in the Netherlands, was awarded $1,500 to support his participation as a speaker at the 2013 annual conference of the Society for Neuroscience. Dr. Sescousse will present his research on the sensitivity to rewards among disordered gamblers.
  • “The Atypical Antidepressant Mirtazapine Attenuates Gambling-like Behavior in Rodents” – Amanda Persons, Ph.D., of Rush University Medical Center, was awarded $1,500 in 2013 to support her participation in the poster session at the 2013 meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence. Dr. Persons reported on research, funded by the NCRG, revealing that mirtazapine, an atypical antidepressant, reduced risk-taking behavior in rats and, therefore, holds promise as a treatment for gambling disorders.
  • “Gambling and the Onset of Comorbid Mental Disorders: A Longitudinal Study Evaluating Severity and Specific Symptoms” - Iman Parhami, M.D., M.P.H., from the Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health was awarded $1,500 to attend the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry’s annual meeting. Dr. Parhami will give a presentation on a study of two waves of the longitudinal gambling data in the NESARC (National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions) survey and a discussion about whether different levels of gambling behavior and gambling-related symptoms were associated with the onset of psychiatric disorders.

Seed Grants

  • “How Skill Affects Gambler Responses to Wins and Losses” – Kyle Siler, Ph.D., of McMaster University, was awarded $27,536.75 to gauge the effects of wins and losses on subsequent play using a large dataset of online poker hands.
  • “An Animal Model of Relapse to Pathological Gambling” – David Kearns, Ph.D., of American University, was awarded $28,750 to address the lack of knowledge about the causes of relapse of a gambling disorder by developing an animal model in which potential precipitators of relapse can be investigated.
  • “The Effects of PTSD on Risky Decision-Making” – Caitlin A. Orsini, Ph.D., of the University of Florida, was awarded $28,750.  Because Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may alter decision-making capabilities, there is increasing interest in the relationship between PTSD and disordered gambling behavior. Dr. Orsini’s study will use a rodent model to determine whether elevated risk-taking is a pre-disposing factor to developing PTSD-like symptoms following trauma.

Early Stage Investigator Grant

  • “Developing a Mouse Model of Pathological Gambling Using an Inducible and Tissue-specific Serotonin 1B Receptor Knock-out” – Katherine Nautiyal, Ph.D., of the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, Inc., was awarded $147,706 to develop mouse gambling behavioral models toward the goal of developing pharmacological treatments for gambling disorders.

Large Grants

  • “Social Influences on the Development of Risky Choice” – Scott A. Huettel, Ph.D., of Duke University, was awarded $172,358 to study the emerging perspective that adolescence is associated with increased sensitivity to rewards, which places them particularly at risk for disorders including pathological responses to rewarding outcomes (e.g., gambling disorders).
  • “Neural Correlates of Impulsivity and their Modulation by Dopamine in Problem/Pathological Gambling” – Andrew Kayser, M.D., Ph.D., of Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center at the University of California, San Francisco, was awarded $172,500 to evaluate a novel translational (and potentially therapeutic) approach for gambling disorders: inhibitors of the dopamine-degrading enzyme catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT).
  • “Efficacy of a Brief Motivational Intervention Delivered via Smartphone and Short Messaging Service” – Matthew Martens, Ph.D., of the University of Missouri-Columbia, was awarded $171,350 to expand on his work from a previous NCRG grant. Dr. Martens will test the efficacy of a novel Brief Motivational Intervention (BMI) designed to reduce gambling among college students. This intervention will be delivered via smartphone devices (i.e., cell phones with comprehensive web applications) and short messaging service (SMS) technology.

To read more about this announcement, click here. For more information about the NCRG Grants Program, visit the NCRG website.

Stay connected with the NCRG here, and on Facebook and Twitter, for upcoming announcements on the NCRG’s 2014 funding opportunities. 

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