Abnormal gray matter and white matter volume in ‘Internet gaming addicts’

Addict Behav. 2014 Sep 16;40C:137-143. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2014.09.010.

Lin X1, Dong G2, Wang Q1, Du X3.


Internet gaming addiction (IGA) is usually defined as the inability of an individual to control his/her use of the Internet with serious negative consequences. It is becoming a prevalent mental health concern around the world.

To understand whether Internet gaming addiction contributes to cerebral structural changes, the present study examined the brain gray matter density and white matter density changes in participants suffering IGA using voxel-based morphometric analysis. Compared with the healthy controls (N=36, 22.2±3.13years), IGA participants (N=35, 22.28±2.54years) showed significant lower gray matter density in the bilateral inferior frontal gyrus, left cingulate gyrus, insula, right precuneus, and right hippocampus (all p<0.05). IGA participants also showed significant lower white matter density in the inferior frontal gyrus, insula, amygdala, and anterior cingulate than healthy controls (all p<0.05).

Previous studies suggest that these brain regions are involved in decision-making, behavioral inhibition and emotional regulation. Current findings might provide insight in understanding the biological underpinnings of IGA.