Two Friends Argue Over Slot Machine Money Brain Operation Film

When Ann Klinestiver, a high school English teacher in Milton, W.Va., was first diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, she was desperate for anything that might calm the tremors caused by the disease. She found relief in a new drug called Requip.

'At first, the drug was like a miracle,' Klinestiver says. 'All my movement problems just disappeared.'

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Two friends argue over slot machine money brain operation films

Over time, however, Klinestiver needed higher and higher doses of the drug in order to ease her symptoms. That's when she became a gambling addict. Although she'd never been interested in gambling before, Klinestiver was suddenly obsessed with slot machines. Every day, she would drive to the local dog racing track and play slots until 3:30 in the morning. After a year of addictive gambling, Klinestiver lost more than $200,000.

Klinestiver's medication worked by imitating the effects of dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain. Parkinson's is caused by the death of dopamine neurons in brain areas that control bodily movement. But dopamine also plays a central role in the pleasure centers of the brain, influencing how we see the world and respond to it. Recent medical studies have found that anywhere from 3 to 13 percent of patients on the kind of medication Klinestiver was taking develop severe gambling addictions or related compulsions. In early 2006, Klinestiver was taken off Requip. Her tremors worsened, but her gambling addiction vanished. 'I haven't gambled in 18 months,' she says. 'I still think about the slots, but the obsession isn't there.'

Stories like Klinestiver's, and research into dopamine's role in the brain, are helping neuroscientists understand the temptation of gambling and the scourge of gambling addiction. This research may also change the way we see casinos, and help shift the debate over whether the government should further regulate slots, roulette wheels, and other games of chance. From the perspective of the brain, gambling has much in common with addictive drugs, like cocaine. Both work by hijacking the brain's pleasure centers -- a lure that some people are literally incapable of resisting.

Two Friends Argue Over Slot Machine Money Brain Operation Film Video

Two friends argue over slot machine money brain operation films

'Gambling games grew up around the frailty of our nervous system,' says Read Montague, a professor of neuroscience at Baylor University. 'They evolved to exploit specific hiccups in our brain.'

Two friends argue over slot machine money brain operation films

Two Friends Argue Over Slot Machine Money Brain Operation Films

In recent years, gambling has spread across America, with gambling generating revenues of $2.9 billion in New England in 2006. The question of gambling is of particular relevance for Massachusetts. Last month, the town of Middleborough voted in support of a massive new gambling complex, to be built on lands owned by the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe. Governor Deval Patrick is currently considering proposals to expand gambling across the state, and several developers are looking at sites in Boston. Jennings tic tac toe slot machines.

Two Friends Argue Over Slot Machine Money Brain Operation Filming

The growth of the gambling industry has been accompanied by a large amount of new scientific research explaining the effects of gambling on the brain. The neural circuits manipulated by gambling originally evolved to help animals assess rewards, such as food, that are crucial for survival. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter involved with the processing of these rewards. Whenever we experience something pleasurable, such as winning a hand of blackjack or eating a piece of chocolate cake, our dopamine neurons get excited. These neurons help the brain learn about the pleasure, and attempt to predict when it will happen again.