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J Psychiatr Res. 2012 Sep;46(9):1212-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2012.05.015. Epub 2012 Jun 22.

Diffusion tensor imaging reveals thalamus and posterior cingulate cortex abnormalities in internet gaming addicts.

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Department of Psychology, Zhejiang Normal University, 688 of Yingbin Road, Jinhua, Zhejiang Province, PR China.


Internet gaming addiction (IGA) is increasingly recognized as a widespread disorder with serious psychological and health consequences. Diminished white matter integrity has been demonstrated in a wide range of other addictive disorders which share clinical characteristics with IGA. Abnormal white matter integrity in addictive populations has been associated with addiction severity, treatment response and cognitive impairments. This study assessed white matter integrity in individuals with internet gaming addiction (IGA) using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). IGA subjects (N = 16) showed higher fractional anisotropy (FA), indicating greater white matter integrity, in the thalamus and left posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) relative to healthy controls (N = 15). Higher FA in the thalamus was associated with greater severity of internet addiction. Increased regional FA in individuals with internet gaming addiction may be a pre-existing vulnerability factor for IGA, or may arise secondary to IGA, perhaps as a direct result of excessive internet game playing.

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