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  • Author or Editor: Jialin Zhang x
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Background and aims

Although studies have suggested that individuals with Internet gaming disorder (IGD) may have impairments in cognitive functioning, the nature of the relationship is unclear given that the information is typically derived from cross-sectional studies.

Methods

Individuals with active IGD (n = 154) and those individuals no longer meeting criteria (n = 29) after 1 year were examined longitudinally using functional magnetic resonance imaging during performance of cue-craving tasks. Subjective responses and neural correlates were contrasted at study onset and at 1 year.

Results

Subjects’ craving responses to gaming cues decreased significantly at 1 year relative to study onset. Decreased brain responses in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and lentiform nucleus were observed at 1 year relative to onset. Significant positive correlations were observed between changes in brain activities in the lentiform nucleus and changes in self-reported cravings. Dynamic causal modeling analysis showed increased ACC–lentiform connectivity at 1 year relative to study onset.

Conclusions

After recovery from IGD, individuals appear less sensitive to gaming cues. This recovery may involve increased ACC-related control over lentiform-related motivations in the control over cravings. The extent to which cortical control over subcortical motivations may be targeted in treatments for IGD should be examined further.

Open access

Abstract

Background

Although previous studies have revealed gender-related differences in executive function in internet gaming disorder (IGD), neural mechanisms underlying these processes remain unclear, especially in terms of brain networks.

Methods

Resting-state fMRI data were collected from 78 subjects with IGD (39 males, 20.8 ± 2.16 years old) and 72 with recreational game use (RGU) (39 males, 21.5 ± 2.56 years old). By utilizing graph theory, we calculated participation coefficients among brain network modules for all participants and analyzed the diagnostic-group-by-gender interactions. We further explored possible causal relationships between networks through spectral dynamic causal modeling (spDCM) to assess differences in between-network connections.

Results

Compared to males with RGU, males with IGD demonstrated reduced modular segregation of the frontal-parietal network (FPN). Male IGD subjects also showed increased connections between the FPN and cingulo-opercular network (CON); however, these differences were not found in female subjects. Further spDCM analysis indicated that the causal influence from CON to FPN in male IGD subjects was enhanced relative to that of RGU males, while this influence was relatively reduced in females with IGD.

Conclusions

These results suggest poor modular segmentation of the FPN and abnormal FPN/CON connections in males with IGD, suggesting a mechanism for male vulnerability to IGD. An increased “bottom-up” effect from the CON to FPN in male IGD subjects could reflect dysfunction between the brain networks. Different mechanisms may underlie in IGD, suggesting that different interventions may be optimal in males and females with IGD.

Open access

Abstract

Background

Internet gaming disorder (IGD) is included in the DSM-5 as a provisional diagnosis. Whether IGD should be regarded as a disorder and, if so, how it should be defined and thresholded have generated considerable debate.

Methods

In the current study, machine learning was used, based on regional and interregional brain features. Resting-state data from 374 subjects (including 148 IGD subjects with DSM-5 scores ≥5 and 93 IGD subjects with DSM-5 scores ≥6) were collected, and multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA) was employed to classify IGD from recreational game use (RGU) subjects based on regional brain features (ReHo) and communication between brain regions (functional connectivity; FC). Permutation tests were used to assess classifier performance.

Results

The results demonstrated that when using DSM-5 scores ≥5 as the inclusion criteria for IGD subjects, MVPA could not differentiate IGD subjects from RGU, whether based on ReHo or FC features or by using different templates. MVPA could differentiate IGD subjects from RGU better than expected by chance when using DSM-5 scores ≥6 with both ReHo and FC features. The brain regions involved in the default mode network and executive control network and the cerebellum exhibited high discriminative power during classification.

Discussion

The current findings challenge the current IGD diagnostic criteria thresholding proposed in the DSM-5, suggesting that more stringent criteria may be needed for diagnosing IGD. The findings suggest that brain regions involved in the default mode network and executive control network relate importantly to the core criteria for IGD.

Open access

Abstract

Background and aims

Problematic use of the internet (PUI) among adolescents has become one of the public problems around the world. Understanding the developmental trajectory of PUI may be beneficial to develop prevention and intervention. The current study aimed to identify the developmental trajectories of PUI among adolescents, considering individual differences over time. And also explored how familial factors contributed to the identified trajectories, and the relationship between PUI changes over time and social, mental health, and academic functioning.

Methods

A total of 1,149 adolescents (Mage  = 15.82, SD = 0.61; 55.27% girls at Wave 1) participated in assessments at four time points, using 6-month assessment intervals.

Results

Based on a latent class growth model, three trajectories of PUI were identified: Low Decreasing, Moderate Increasing, and High Increasing groups. Multivariate logistic regression analyses suggested that inter-parental conflicts and childhood maltreatment served as negative familial predictors for the risk trajectories of PUI (i.e., Moderate Increasing and High Increasing groups). Additionally, adolescents in these two groups displayed more estranged interpersonal relationships, more mental health difficulties, and poorer academic functioning.

Discussion and conclusions

It is important to consider individual differences in understanding the developmental patterns of PUI among adolescents. Identifying family predictors and the behavioral outcome associated with groups with different developmental trajectories of PUI, which may help to understand better risk factors related to specific developmental patterns of PUI and its adverse correlates. The findings highlight a need to develop more specific effective intervention programs for individuals displaying different problematic developmental trajectories with PUI.

Open access