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Brains of Teens Addicted to Gaming Have Hyper Connected Regions

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Although internet gaming addiction isn't officially a disorder in DSM-5, it is mentioned in DSM-5 section III as follows:

 

Quote

Internet Gaming Disorder deals with the compulsive preoccupation some people develop in playing online games, often to the exclusion of other needs and interests.  People with this condition endanger their academic or job functioning because of the amount of time they spend playing. They experience symptoms of withdrawal when pulled away from gaming.

...

Further research will determine if the same patterns of excessive online gaming are detected using the proposed criteria

 

The subject of gaming addiction is nothing new and there are studies that can be found on nih's website which go back several years. 

 

Popular Science has an interesting article about a recent internet gaming addiction study found in the journal Addiction Biology. This study took MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans of 78 teenage boys that were diagnosed with Internet Gaming Disorder (as noted above, not an official diagnosis in DSM-5) and compared them against 73 control subjects that did not have this disorder. 

 

What they found is that the teens with the gaming addiction had formed several stronger connections between certain parts of the brain such as the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and bilateral insulae that allow them to react more quickly to certain events (e.g. twitch shooters like CS:Go).

 

MRI_anterior_cingulate.thumb.png.78f19c8

 

Conversely however, the researchers also found a lack of impulse control in the subjects attributed to a strong connection between the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and temporoparietal junction, something that is found in patients with Down syndrome, schizophrenia and autism. 

 

With the prevalence of internet game streaming on twitch and the draw of tournament prize pools worth millions of dollars, the number of teens and adults drawn to long hours of gaming will almost certainly lead to a much larger number of people who may be susceptible to these possible deleterious changes to their physiology.

 

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(photo credit: extremetech)

 

However, before any definite conclusions can be drawn about internet gaming addiction, many other causal or contributing factors would need to be accounted for such as those with preexisting disorders being naturally drawn to video games. Additionally, female teens and adults addicted to gaming warrants further study to compare them against their male counterparts. 


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Wow. That's fascinating. I watched a VICE doc about Japan. Most men ages 18-35 are addicted to gaming. They would rather sit in internet cafes instead of dating. So most young ladies are single and bored. I think I may travel there in the future. LOL

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