Navigation Links
Could Internet Addiction Disrupt Brain's Connections?
Date:1/12/2012

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 11 (HealthDay News) -- A small Chinese study suggests that the brains of teenagers who are seemingly addicted to the Internet have abnormal "white matter," the biological insulation that surrounds the wiring between neurons.

It's not clear if this difference could cause Internet addiction or actually be caused by it. And the research doesn't point to a treatment or cure for Internet addiction, a controversial diagnosis that the mental health community hasn't universally accepted.

Still, the research makes sense because of the regions of the brain in question, said Jonathan Wallis, an associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley, who studies the brain and is familiar with the new findings.

"The areas that they [the study authors] have pinpointed are ones that we already know are involved in addiction and compulsive behavior," he said. The differences in white matter in the subjects described as Internet addicts is "the kind of impairment that we'd expect to disrupt the normal function of those areas."

The existence of Internet addiction is a widely debated issue in the world of mental health, especially since the main handbook of psychological disorders -- the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders -- is undergoing revision. Among other things, specialists disagree over whether the condition is truly an addiction or fits into another category.

Internet addiction has been an especially hot topic in China, where researchers at Jiao Tong University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences launched the new study.

The researchers gave MRI brain scans to 17 adolescents who appeared to suffer from Internet addiction. Among other things, the teens said they were preoccupied with the Internet, had repeatedly tried to control their use without success, and felt restless, moody, depressed or irritable when they tried to cut down.

The researchers compared their brain scans to those of 16 "healthy" teens of the same ages and genders.

The scientists found that those teens who appeared to have Internet addiction had impaired "white matter" connecting the parts of their brains that deal with issues like decision-making.

White matter refers to the insulation that envelops the wiring that connects brain cells called neurons, Wallis said. "They're connected along the biological equivalent of wire. Just like in any piece of electrical equipment, you want insulation around those wires. The neurons lay down fat, which stops the electrical charge from leaking out of the neuron."

So which came first, the damage to the insulation or the addiction itself? "We don't know whether the poor insulation connecting these areas of the brain predisposes these people to developing compulsive behaviors or whether engaging in a behavior repetitively could damage the connections between brain areas," Wallis said.

One possible theory is that the faulty insulation disrupts communication in the brain to the point where a person thinks a behavior is valuable and should be repeated over and over again, Wallis said. That, he added, may be a key to addictions of various types.

The research offers more insight into how some people may be more prone to addiction because of the way their brains work, said Gordon Harris, a professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School who is studying alcoholism and the brain.

"It's not just a personal failing or weakness," Harris said.

The new study findings appear in the Jan. 11 issue of the journal PLoS One.

More information

For details about addiction medicine, try the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Jonathan Wallis, Ph.D., associate professor, psychology and neuroscience, University of California, Berkeley; Gordon Harris, Ph.D., professor, radiology, Harvard Medical School, and director, 3D Imaging Service, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; Jan. 11, 2012, PLoS One


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Omega-3 fatty acids could prevent and treat nerve damage, research suggests
2. Too Much Vitamin D Could Be Harmful to Heart
3. How many lives could a soda tax save?
4. Could Nicotine Patches Help Stave Off Memory Loss?
5. Could Daily Aspirin Harm Seniors Eyes?
6. Missed Naps Could Put Toddlers at Risk for Mood Disorders
7. The cost of disabilities could reach 77.2 percent of household income
8. Novel technique could help boost IVF success and reduce multiple pregnancies
9. Enzyme that flips switch on cells sugar cravings could be anti-cancer target
10. Pitt/Childrens Hospital team: Cell membrane proteins could provide targets for broader vaccines
11. Improving family consent in organ donation could save lives
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Could Internet Addiction Disrupt Brain's Connections?
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... PawPaws brand pet supplements owned ... developed to enhance the health of felines. The formula is all-natural and is made ... in the PawPaws Cat Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews are Astragalus Root ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial Library ... City Observer , brings up a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: the parasite’s ... for fumigation is not a common occurrence, but a necessary one in the event that ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, ... presented a Bronze Wellness at Work award to iHire in recognition of their exemplary ... part of the 7th annual Maryland Workplace Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her ... would lash out at his family verbally and physically. , “When something upset him, he ... he would use it. He would throw rocks at my other children and say he ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... NY (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Topical BioMedics, Inc, makers of Topricin ... companies that call for a minimum wage raise to $12 an hour by 2020 and ... This will restore the lost value of the minimum wage, assure the wage floor does ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016 The Academy of Managed Care ... that would allow biopharmaceutical companies to more easily ... make formulary and coverage decisions, a move that addresses ... medicines. The recommendations address restrictions in the ... the drug label, a prohibition that hinders decision makers ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... -- According to a new market research ... Safety Pen Needles), Needle Length (4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 8mm, ... Purchase (Retail, Non-Retail) - Trends & Global Forecasts to ... for the forecast period of 2016 to 2021. This ... 2021 from USD 1.65 Billion in 2016, growing at ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- MedSource announced today that it has selected Datatrial,s ... choice.  This latest decision demonstrates MedSource,s commitment to ... by offering a state-of-the-art electronic data capture (EDC) ... the EDC platform of choice in exchange for ... long been a preferred EDC platform by our ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: