Resting-state EEG activity related to impulsivity in gambling disorder (2017)

J Behav Addict. 2017 Aug 31:1-9. doi: 10.1556/2006.6.2017.055.

Lee JY1,2, Park SM1,3, Kim YJ1, Kim DJ4, Choi SW5,6, Kwon JS2,7, Choi JS1,7.


Background and aims

Impulsivity is a core feature of gambling disorder (GD) and is related to the treatment response. Thus, it is of interest to determine objective neurobiological markers associated with impulsivity in GD. We explored resting-state electroencephalographic (EEG) activity in patients with GD according to the degree of impulsivity.


In total, 109 GD subjects were divided into three groups according to Barratt impulsiveness scale-11 (BIS-11) scores: high (HI; 25th percentile of BIS-11 scores, n = 29), middle (MI; 26th-74th percentile, n = 57), and low-impulsivity (LI) groups (75th percentile, n = 23). We used generalized estimating equations to analyze differences in EEG absolute power considering group (HI, MI, and LI), brain region (frontal, central, and posterior), and hemisphere (left, midline, and right) for each frequency band (delta, theta, alpha, beta, and gamma).


The results indicated that GD patients in the HI group showed decreased theta absolute power, and decreased alpha and beta absolute power in the left, right, particularly midline frontocentral regions.

Discussion and conclusions

This study is a novel attempt to reveal impulsive features in GD by neurophysiological methods. The results suggest different EEG patterns among GD patients according to the degree of impulsivity, raising the possibility of neurophysiological objective features in GD and helping clinicians in treating GD patients with impulsive features.

KEYWORDS: gambling disorder; impulsivity; resting-state electroencephalography

PMID: 28856896

DOI: 10.1556/2006.6.2017.055