Maladaptive neurovisceral interactions in patients with Internet gaming disorder: A study of heart rate variability and functional neural connectivity using the graph theory approach (2019)

Addict Biol. 2019 Jul 12:e12805. doi: 10.1111/adb.12805.

Park SM1,2, Lee JY1, Choi AR1, Kim BM1, Chung SJ1, Park M1, Kim IY3, Park J3, Choi J3, Hong SJ4, Choi JS1,5.


Heart rate variability (HRV) can be used to represent the regulatory adaptive system and is a proxy for neurovisceral integration. Consistent with the view that, like other addictions, Internet gaming disorder (IGD) involves disrupted regulatory function, the present study hypothesized that IGD patients would show (a) decreased HRV, (b) ineffective functional neural connectivity, and (c) differential patterns of association between HRV and functional neural connectivity relative to healthy controls (HCs). The present study included 111 young adults (53 IGD patients and 58 age- and sex-matched HCs) who underwent simultaneous recordings with an electrocardiogram and electroencephalogram during a resting state. Heart rate (HR), HRV, and functional neural connectivity were calculated using the graph theory approach. Compared with the HCs, the IGD patients exhibited elevated HR and decreased HRV based on the high frequency (HF), which reflects suppression of parasympathetic and/or vagal tone. The IGD patients also exhibited a heightened theta band characteristic path length (CPL) compared with HCs, indicating decreased efficacy of the functional network. Furthermore, IGD patients exhibited negative correlations between the standard deviation of the normal-to-normal interval index (SDNNi) and theta and delta CPL values, which were not observed in HCs. In conclusion, the present findings suggest that IGD patients might have maladaptive brain-body integration features involving disruptions of the autonomic nervous system and brain function.

KEYWORDS: Internet gaming disorder; autonomic nervous system; functional connectivity; heart rate variability; neurovisceral integration

PMID: 31297935

DOI: 10.1111/adb.12805