J Psychiatr Res. 2012 Apr;46(4):507-15. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2012.01.004. Epub 2012 Jan 25.
Patients with on-line game addiction (POGA) and professional video game players play video games for extended periods of time, but experience very different consequences for their on-line game play. Brain regions consisting of anterior cingulate, thalamus and occpito-temporal areas may increase the likelihood of becoming a pro-gamer or POGA. Twenty POGA, seventeen pro-gamers, and eighteen healthy comparison subjects (HC) were recruited. All magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed on a 1.5 Tesla Espree MRI scanner (SIEMENS, Erlangen, Germany). Voxel-wise comparisons of gray matter volume were performed between the groups using the two-sample t-test with statistical parametric mapping (SPM5).
Compared to HC, the POGA group showed increased impulsiveness and perseverative errors, and volume in left thalamus gray matter, but decreased gray matter volume in both inferior temporal gyri, right middle occipital gyrus, and left inferior occipital gyrus, compared with HC. Pro-gamers showed increased gray matter volume in left cingulate gyrus, but decreased gray matter volume in left middle occipital gyrus and right inferior temporal gyrus compared with HC.
Additionally, the pro-gamer group showed increased gray matter volume in left cingulate gyrus and decreased left thalamus gray matter volume compared with the POGA group.
The current study suggests that increased gray matter volumes of the left cingulate gyrus in pro-gamers and of the left thalamus in POGA may contribute to the different clinical characteristics of pro-gamers and POGA.