Authors:Deokjong Lee, Kee Namkoong, Junghan Lee, Byung Ook Lee, and Young-Chul Jung
Background and aims
Smartphone use is becoming commonplace and exerting adequate control over smartphone use has become an important mental health issue. Little is known about the neurobiology underlying problematic smartphone use. We hypothesized that structural abnormalities in the fronto-cingulate brain region could be implicated in problematic smartphone use, similar to that has been reported for Internet gaming disorder and Internet addiction. This study investigated fronto-cingulate gray matter abnormalities in problematic smartphone users, particularly those who spend time on social networking platforms.
The study included 39 problematic smartphone users with excessive use of social networking platforms via smartphone and 49 normal control male and female smartphone users. We conducted voxel-based morphometric analysis with diffeomorphic anatomical registration using an exponentiated Lie algebra algorithm. Region of interest analysis was performed on the fronto-cingulate region to identify whether gray matter volume (GMV) differed between the two groups.
Problematic smartphone users had significantly smaller GMV in the right lateral orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) than healthy controls, and there were significant negative correlations between GMV in the right lateral OFC and the Smartphone Addiction Proneness Scale (SAPS) score, including the SAPS tolerance subscale.
These results suggest that lateral orbitofrontal gray matter abnormalities are implicated in problematic smartphone use, especially in social networking platform overuse. Small GMV in the lateral OFC was correlated with an increasing tendency to be immersed in smartphone use. Our results suggest that orbitofrontal gray matter abnormalities affect regulatory control over previously reinforced behaviors and may underlie problematic smartphone use.
Authors:DongIll Kim, Deokjong Lee, Junghan Lee, Kee Namkoong, and Young-Chul Jung
Background and aims
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common psychiatric comorbidities of Internet addiction (IA); however, the possible mechanisms that contribute to this high comorbidity are still under debate. This study aims to analyze these possible mechanisms by comparing the effect of IA severity and childhood ADHD on inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity in young adults with IA. We hypothesized that IA might have associations with ADHD-like cognitive and behavior symptoms aside from childhood ADHD.
Study participants consisted of 61 young male adults. Participants were administered a structured interview. The severity of IA, childhood and current ADHD symptoms, and psychiatry comorbid symptoms were assessed through self-rating scales. The associations between the severity of IA and ADHD symptoms were examined through hierarchical regression analyses.
Hierarchical regression analyses showed that the severity of IA significantly predicted most dimensions of ADHD symptoms. By contrast, childhood ADHD predicted only one dimension.
The high comorbidity of inattention and hyperactivity symptoms in IA should not solely be accounted by an independent ADHD disorder but should consider the possibility of cognitive symptoms related to IA. Functional and structural brain abnormalities associated with excessive and pathologic Internet usage might be related to these ADHD-like symptoms.
Inattention and hyperactivity in young adults with IA are more significantly associated with the severity of IA than that of childhood ADHD.
Authors:Deokjong Lee, Jinsick Park, Kee Namkoong, In Young Kim, and Young-Chul Jung
Background and aims
Altered risk/reward decision-making is suggested to predispose individuals with Internet gaming disorder (IGD) to pursue short-term pleasure, despite long-term negative consequences. The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) play important roles in risk/reward decision-making. This study investigated gray matter differences in the ACC and OFC of young adults with and without IGD using surface-based morphometry (SBM).
We examined 45 young male adults with IGD and 35 age-matched male controls. We performed region of interest (ROI)-based analyses for cortical thickness and gray matter volume (GMV) in the ACC and OFC. We also conducted whole-brain vertex-wise analysis of cortical thickness to complement the ROI-based analysis.
IGD subjects had thinner cortices in the right rostral ACC, right lateral OFC, and left pars orbitalis than controls. We also found smaller GMV in the right caudal ACC and left pars orbitalis in IGD subjects. Thinner cortex of the right lateral OFC in IGD subjects correlated with higher cognitive impulsivity. Whole-brain analysis in IGD subjects revealed thinner cortex in the right supplementary motor area, left frontal eye field, superior parietal lobule, and posterior cingulate cortex.
Individuals with IGD had a thinner cortex and a smaller GMV in the ACC and OFC, which are critical areas for evaluating reward values, error processing, and adjusting behavior. In addition, in behavioral control-related brain regions, including frontoparietal areas, they also had thinner cortices. These gray matter differences may contribute to IGD pathophysiology through altered risk/reward decision-making and diminished behavioral control.
Authors:Junghan Lee, Deokjong Lee, Kee Namkoong, and Young-Chul Jung
Background and aims
The clinical significance of Internet gaming disorder (IGD) is spreading worldwide, but its underlying neural mechanism still remains unclear. Moreover, the prevalence of IGD seems to be the highest in adolescents whose brains are in development. This study investigated the functional connectivity between large-scale intrinsic networks including default mode network, executive control network, and salience network. We hypothesized that adolescents with IGD would demonstrate different functional connectivity patterns among large-scale intrinsic networks, implying neurodevelopmental alterations, which might be associated with executive dysfunction.
This study included 17 male adolescents with Internet gaming disorder, and 18 age-matched male adolescents as healthy controls. Functional connectivity was examined using seed-to-voxel analysis and seed-to-seed analysis, with the nodes of large-scale intrinsic networks used as region of interests. Group independent component analysis was performed to investigate spatially independent network.
We identified aberrant functional connectivity of salience network and default mode network with the left posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) in adolescents with IGD. Furthermore, functional connectivity between salience network and pSTS correlated with proneness to Internet addiction and self-reported cognitive problems. Independent component analysis revealed that pSTS was involved in social brain network.
Discussion and conclusions
The results imply that aberrant functional connectivity of social brain network with default mode network and salience network was identified in IGD that may be associated with executive dysfunction. Our results suggest that inordinate social stimuli during excessive online gaming leads to altered connections among large-scale networks during neurodevelopment of adolescents.