Neuroscience: The thief within

    Biol. Psychiatry 65, 600–606 (2009)

    A drug that quiets cravings for alcohol may also soothe the urge to steal in kleptomaniacs.

    The drug naltrexone acts by blocking the effects of opioids in the brain. Jon Grant and his colleagues at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine in Minneapolis conducted a double-blind study of the drug's effects on a group of kleptomaniacs who ordinarily steal at least once a week.

    Within 8 weeks, the 11 volunteers receiving the drug reported a significant reduction in their compulsion to steal compared with the placebo group. The results are preliminary, but support a link between the symptoms of kleptomania and the body's opioid system.

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    Neuroscience: The thief within. Nature 458, 810 (2009).

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