Contact Us
Make My Homepage

Web Addicts and Substance Abusers Have Similar Brain Changes


Researchers in China find internet addicts have brain changes similar to those with drug or alcohol problems.

A research team led by Hao Lei of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Wuhan did brain scans on 35 men and women between 14 and 21 years old, about half of whom were classed as having internet addiction disorder (IAD).

Compared with non-addicts, those with IAD showed changes in the white matter of the brain — the part that contains nerve fibers — and there was evidence that connections in the fibers linking the brain areas involved in emotions, decision making, and self-control were disrupted as a result.

Lei and his colleagues write in the journal PLoS ONE, “Overall, our findings indicate that IAD has abnormal white matter integrity in brain regions involving emotional generation and processing, executive attention, decision making and cognitive control. The results also suggest that IAD may share psychological and neural mechanisms with other types of substance addiction and impulse control disorders.”

Dr. Henrietta Bowden-Jones, consultant psychiatrist and honorary senior lecturer at Imperial College London, told BBC News that while further studies with more people are needed to confirm the findings, the new research is “groundbreaking,” adding, “We are finally being told what clinicians suspected for some time now, that white matter abnormalities … are present not only in addictions where substances are involved but also in behavioral ones such as internet addiction.”

Best of NewsTalk 1290

Recommended For You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for NewsTalk VIP Club quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive NewsTalk VIP Club contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.