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Front Psychiatry. 2018 Aug 3;9:341. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00341. eCollection 2018.

Resting-State Activity of Prefrontal-Striatal Circuits in Internet Gaming Disorder: Changes With Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Predictors of Treatment Response.

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Department of Radiology, Ren Ji Hospital, School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China.
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Shanghai Mental Health Center, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China.


Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is effective for the treatment of Internet gaming disorder (IGD). However, the mechanisms by which CBT improves IGD-related clinical symptoms remain unknown. This study aimed to discover the therapeutic mechanism of CBT in IGD subjects using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rsfMRI). Twenty-six IGD subjects and 30 matched healthy controls (HCs) received rsfMRI scan and clinical assessments; 20 IGD subjects completed CBT and then were scanned again. The amplitude of low-frequency (ALFF) values and the functional connectivity (FC) between the IGD group and the HC group were compared at baseline, as well as the ALFF values and FC before and after the CBT in the IGD group. Prior to treatment, the IGD group exhibited significantly increased ALFF values in the bilateral putamen, the right medial orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), the bilateral supplementary motor area (SMA), the left postcentral gyrus, and the left anterior cingulate (ACC) compared with the HC group. The HC group showed significantly increased FC values between the left medial OFC and the putamen compared with the IGD group, the FC values of IGD group were negatively associated with the BIS-11 scores before treatment. After the CBT, the weekly gaming time was significantly shorter, and the CIAS and BIS-II scores were significantly lower. The ALFF values in the IGD subjects significantly decreased in the left superior OFC and the left putamen, and the FC between them significantly increased after the CBT. The degree of the FC changes (ΔFC/Pre-FC) was positively correlated with the scale of the CIAS scores changes (ΔCIAS/Pre-CIAS) in the IGD subjects. CBT could regulate the abnormal low-frequency fluctuations in prefrontal-striatal regions in IGD subjects and could improve IGD-related symptoms. Resting-state alternations in prefrontal-striatal regions may reveal the therapeutic mechanism of CBT in IGD subjects.


amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation; cognitive behavior therapy; functional connectivity; functional magnetic resonance imaging; internet gaming disorder

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