White matter connectivity and Internet gaming disorder.Addict Biol. 2016 May; 21(3):732-42.AB
Internet use and on-line game play stimulate corticostriatal-limbic circuitry in both healthy subjects and subjects with Internet gaming disorder (IGD). We hypothesized that increased fractional anisotropy (FA) with decreased radial diffusivity (RD) would be observed in IGD subjects, compared with healthy control subjects, and that these white matter indices would be associated with clinical variables including duration of illness and executive function. We screened 181 male patients in order to recruit a large number (n = 58) of IGD subjects without psychiatric co-morbidity as well as 26 male healthy comparison subjects. Multiple diffusion-weighted images were acquired using a 3.0 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging scanner. Tract-based spatial statistics was applied to compare group differences in diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) metrics between IGD and healthy comparison subjects. IGD subjects had increased FA values within forceps minor, right anterior thalamic radiation, right corticospinal tract, right inferior longitudinal fasciculus, right cingulum to hippocampus and right inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus (IFOF) as well as parallel decreases in RD value within forceps minor, right anterior thalamic radiation and IFOF relative to healthy control subjects. In addition, the duration of illness in IGD subjects was positively correlated with the FA values (integrity of white matter fibers) and negatively correlated with RD scores (diffusivity of axonal density) of whole brain white matter. In IGD subjects without psychiatric co-morbidity, our DTI results suggest that increased myelination (increased FA and decreased RD values) in right-sided frontal fiber tracts may be the result of extended game play.