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:8/18/2017)... ... August 18, 2017 , ... ... specialized asset-light logistics provider of complex transport solutions for mission-critical and non-discretionary ... Unitrans International Corporation, a division of Roadrunner Transportation Systems, Inc. (NYSE: RRTS). ...
(Date:8/18/2017)... ... August 18, 2017 , ... ... devices. Through an educational webinar, they will present the line of epMotion automated ... learn how easy you can automate everyday pipetting tasks. , Ideal for scientists ...
(Date:8/18/2017)... Woodlands, TX (PRWEB) , ... August 18, 2017 ... ... protection assistance and financial planning services to communities in east Texas, is launching ... Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. , Founded in 1991, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation ...
(Date:8/18/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... August 18, 2017 , ... The Golseth ... in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, is spearheading a regional charity campaign organized to provide ... , In early June of this year, Christina and her children returned from out ...
(Date:8/18/2017)... ... August 18, 2017 , ... Alcovit, a lime-flavored beverage that rids the body ... with its product now available through Jet.com. , After 25 years of development, ... drink is designed to quickly detox the body thereby avoiding alcohol-induced hangovers. Whether you’re ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:8/7/2017)...  Endo International plc (NASDAQ: ENDP ) ... all known U.S. mesh product liability claims and that ... remaining U.S. claims at reasonable values. Under the agreements, ... quarter of 2017 and continuing through the fourth quarter ... results, the Company intends to increase its mesh product ...
(Date:8/2/2017)... AROMAS, Calif. , Aug. 2, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... by Continental Who,s Who as a Pinnacle Lifetime ... currently the Key Account Manager at Turing Pharmaceuticals, ... communications, negotiations, troubleshooting and relationship building.                ... has more than 25 years of experience ...
(Date:8/1/2017)... Aug. 1, 2017   CerSci Therapeutics , a ... Texas , has received notice from the National ... of Health (NIH) that it has been awarded a ... over $650,000 in 2017 with an additional $1,000,000 to ... New Drug application of their lead non-opioid drug candidate ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: