Coming Soon: Drug to Treat Gambling Addicts?

New study discovers why some people may take financial risks

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 21, 2012 11:05 AM CST

(Newser) – Why are some stock traders and gamblers so willing to take financial risks? A new study shares a possible answer: Scientists found that people with higher levels of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine in a critical part of the brain related to sensory and reward systems are less sensitive to the pain of financial loss. The discovery could help researchers to develop drugs to treat gambling addicts, Reuters notes.

But the research also applies to more than just gamblers: "Pathological gambling that happens at regular casinos is bad enough, but I think it's also happening a lot now at Casino Wall Street and Casino City of London," says the editor of the psychiatry journal that published the study, referring to market traders. "We like to believe we all have free will and make whatever decisions we want to, but this shows it's not so easy," he continues. "Many people have a predisposure to make certain kinds of decisions."

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