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  • Author or Editor: Young-Chul Jung x
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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).

Methods

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.

Results

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.

Conclusions

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.

Open access
Authors: Young-Chul Shin, Sam-Wook Choi, Juwon Ha, Jung-Seok Choi and Dai-Jin Kim

Background and Aims

To date, few studies have examined the clinical manifestation of disordered gamblers in financial markets. This study examined the differences in the clinical and treatment-related features of gambling disorder between financial markets and horse races.

Methods

Subjects who met the DSM-IV criteria for pathological gambling (PG) and who sought treatment were assessed by retrospective chart review. One hundred forty-four subjects were included in this sample, which consisted of the following groups: financial markets (n = 45; 28.6%) and horse races (n = 99; 71.4%).

Results

Multiple similar manifestations were found between the groups, including severity of PG, age of PG onset, amounts of gambling debts, drinking days per week, depressive mood, duration of seeking treatment after the onset of PG, and treatment follow-up duration. However, disordered gamblers who invested in the financial market were significantly more likely to be educated (p = 0.003), live with their spouses (p = 0.007), have full-time jobs (p = 0.006), and they were more likely to participate in the first type of gambling than the horse races group (p<0.001). Furthermore, the financial markets group received the anti-craving medication less often than the horse races group (p = 0.04).

Discussion and Conclusions

These findings suggest that disordered gamblers in financial markets show different socio-demographic, clinical and treatment-related features compared with the horse race gamblers, despite a similar severity of gambling disorder. Understanding these differential manifestations may provide insight into prevention and treatment development for specific types of gambling.

Open access

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.

Methods

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.

Results

Hierarchical regression analyses showed that the severity of IA significantly predicted most dimensions of ADHD symptoms. By contrast, childhood ADHD predicted only one dimension.

Discussion

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.

Conclusion

Inattention and hyperactivity in young adults with IA are more significantly associated with the severity of IA than that of childhood ADHD.

Open access
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.

Methods

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.

Results

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.

Conclusions

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.

Open access
Authors: Sam-Wook Choi, Young-Chul Shin, Jung Yeon Mok, Dai-Jin Kim, Jung-Seok Choi and Samuel Suk-Hyun Hwang

Background and aims

Gambling disorder (GD) shares many similarities with substance use disorders (SUDs) in clinical, neurobiological, and neurocognitive features, including decision-making. We evaluated the relationships among, GD, decision-making, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), as measured by serum BDNF levels.

Methods

Twenty-one male patients with GD and 21 healthy sex- and age-matched control subjects were evaluated for associations between serum BDNF levels and the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI), as well as between serum BDNF levels and Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) indices.

Results

The mean serum BDNF levels were significantly increased in patients with GD compared to healthy controls. A significant correlation between serum BDNF levels and PGSI scores was found when controlling for age, depression, and duration of GD. A significant negative correlation was obtained between serum BDNF levels and IGT improvement scores.

Discussion

These findings support the hypothesis that serum BDNF levels constitute a dual biomarker for the neuroendocrine changes and the severity of GD in patients. Serum BDNF level may serve as an indicator of poor decision-making performance and learning processes in GD and help to identify the common physiological underpinnings between GD and SUDs.

Open access

Abstract

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.

Methods

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.

Results

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.

Open access