Brain connectivity and psychiatric comorbidity in adolescents with Internet gaming disorder

Addict Biol. 2017 May;22(3):802-812. doi: 10.1111/adb.12347. Epub 2015 Dec 22.


Prolonged Internet video game play may have multiple and complex effects on human cognition and brain development in both negative and positive ways. There is not currently a consensus on the principle effects of video game play neither on brain development nor on the relationship to psychiatric comorbidity. In this study, 78 adolescents with Internet gaming disorder (IGD) and 73 comparison subjects without IGD, including subgroups with no other psychiatric comorbid disease, with major depressive disorder and with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), were included in a 3 T resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging analysis. The severity of Internet gaming disorder, depression, anxiety and ADHD symptoms were assessed with the Young Internet Addiction Scale, the Beck Depression Inventory, the Beck Anxiety Inventory and the Korean ADHD rating scales, respectively. Patients with IGD showed an increased functional correlation between seven pairs of regions, all satisfying q < 0.05 False discovery rates in light of multiple statistical tests: left frontal eye field to dorsal anterior cingulate, left frontal eye field to right anterior insula, left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) to left temporoparietal junction (TPJ), right DLPFC to right TPJ, right auditory cortex to right motor cortex, right auditory cortex to supplementary motor area and right auditory cortex to dorsal anterior cingulate. These findings may represent a training effect of extended game play and suggest a risk or predisposition in game players for over-connectivity of the default mode and executive control networks that may relate to psychiatric comorbidity.

Keywords: Brain connectivity; Internet gaming disorder; fMRI; functional magnetic resonance imaging.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Adult
  • Behavior, Addictive / complications*
  • Behavior, Addictive / physiopathology
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Korea
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / complications*
  • Mental Disorders / physiopathology
  • Neural Pathways / diagnostic imaging
  • Neural Pathways / physiopathology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Video Games / psychology*
  • Video Games / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult