Betel quid use and abuse is wide spread in Asia but the physiological basis of intoxication and addiction are unknown. In subjects naïve to the habit of betel quid intoxication, the psychological and physiological profile of intoxication has never been reported. We compared the effect of chewing gum or chewing betel quid, and subsequent betel quid intoxication, on psychological assessment, prospective time interval estimation, numerical and character digit span, computerized 2 choice tests and mental tasks such as reading and mathematics with concurrent monitoring of ECG, EEG and face temperature in healthy, non-sleep deprived, male subjects naïve to the habit of chewing betel quid. Betel quid intoxication, dose dependently induced tachycardia (max 30 bpm) and elevated face temperature (0.7°C) (P<0.001) above the effects observed in response to chewing gum (max 12 bpm and 0.3°C) in 12 subjects.
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