-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, Sept. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Repeat impaired-driving
offenders have subtle deficits in their decision-making abilities
that may not be detected through conventional tests, says a new
Researchers assessed 34 male, second-time DUI (driving under the
influence) offenders enrolled in a rehabilitation program and a
control group of 31 healthy, non-offenders matched for age,
education, and alcohol use.
All the participants underwent psychiatric assessments ad
conventional neuropsychological testing, including the the Iowa
Gambling Task (IGT), to help assess personality patterns.
The IGT, Kasar explained, is used in many studies investigating
alcohol problems because it simulates real-life
"We found that second-time DUI offenders have a poorer performance on the IGT test than their matched counterparts," Muzaffer Kasar, a resident in psychiatry at the Bakirkoy Research and Training Hospital in Istanbul, Turkey, said in a journal news release.
In contrast, he and colleague David J. Nutt, a professor of
psychiatry at Imperial College London in the U.K., found no
differences between the repeat DUI offenders and the control group
on conventional neuropsychological testing and temperament and
character testing (TCI) scores.
"These findings suggest that second-time DUI offenders do not suffer from motor impulsiveness -- that is, a lack of impulse control in 'here and now' situations," Nutt said. Instead, he explained, "they suffer from cognitive impulsiveness, which depends on associating negative experiences with possible negative consequences."
In other words, "there are brain reasons for why people make
poor choices regarding DUI," he added.
The researchers urged that such testing be expanded for people
convicted of DUI, which they noted accounted for 40 percent of the
fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States. In addition, they
said, 33 percent of the DUI drivers were recidivists, or repeat
The study appears online and in the December print issue of the
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
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