Structural Brain Network Abnormalities In Subjects With Internet Addiction (2017)

Lee, Min-Hee, Areum Min, Yoon Ho Hwang, Dong Youn Kim, Bong Soo Han, And Hyung Suk Seo.

Journal Of Mechanics In Medicine And Biology (2017): 1740031.


Although problematic overuse of internet has increased, psychopathological characteristics and neurobiological mechanisms for internet addiction (IA) remain poorly understood. Therefore, it is necessary to investigate the impact of IA on the brain. The present study included 17 subjects with IA and 20 healthy subjects. We constructed the structural brain network from diffusion tensor imaging data and investigated alteration of structural connections in subjects with IA using the network analysis on the global and local levels.

The subjects with IA showed increase of regional efficiency (RE) in bilateral orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and decrease in right middle cingulate and middle temporal gyri (P<0.05), whereas the global properties did not show significant changes. Young’s internet addiction test (IAT) scores and RE in left OFC showed positive correlation, and average time spent on internet per day was positively correlated with the RE in right OFC.

This is the first study examining alterations of the structural brain connectivity in IA. We found that subjects with IA showed alterations of RE in some brain regions and RE was positively associated with the severity of IA and average time spent on internet per day. Therefore, RE may be a good property for IA assessment.

Keywords: Internet addiction; structural brain network; diffusion tensor imaging