Addict Behav. 2019 Nov 9;102:106202. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2019.106202.
Although online gaming may lead to Internet gaming disorder (IGD), most players are recreational game users (RGU) who do not develop IGD. So far, the topological organization of whole-brain functional networks in IGD remains poorly understood. The inclusion of RGU as a control group could minimize the potential effects of gaming experience and gaming-related cue familiarity on the neural characteristics of IGD subjects. In the present study, we applied graph theoretical analysis to preliminarily explore the topological organization of intrinsic functional brain networks in IGD. 61 IGD participants and 61 matched RGU participants were recruited to undergo a resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging scan. The whole-brain functional networks were constructed by thresholding partial correlation matrices of 90 brain regions, and graph-based approaches were applied to analysis their topological attributes, including small-world, efficiency, and nodal centralities. Both of IGD and RGU groups showed efficient and economic small-world topology in brain functional networks. Although there was no significant group difference in global properties, subjects with IGD as compared to those with RGU showed increased nodal centralities in the reward, craving, emotional memory and sensory-motor processing regions. These results suggest that the functional network dysfunction, characterizing by heightened incentive motivation and sensory-motor coordination, may provide a new perspective for understanding the neural characteristics underlying IGD.
KEYWORDS: Incentive motivation; Internet gaming disorder; Recreational game user; Small-world