Internet Addiction Causes Changes To Human Brain – Study

By on Jan 15, 2012 in Health, Internet, Science, Technology Comments
Internet Addiction
Internet Addiction
Credit: May Shella Macuha

Internet addiction causes changes in the human brain similar to people exposed to alcohol and drugs, a recent study has found. This was reported by international news sites on Wednesday, January 11, 2012.

Researchers in China reportedly scanned the brain of 17 internet addicts and were compared with that of 16 people who were not addicted. The findings, published in the online journal Public Library of Science One showed that brain alterations observed were similar to those people addicted to drugs and alcohol.

“Our findings suggest that IAD [internet addiction disorder] demonstrated widespread reductions of FA [fractional anisotropy] in major white matter pathways and such abnormal white matter structure may be linked to some behavioural impairments. In addition, white matter integrity may serve as a potential new treatment target,” the researchers wrote in the online journal.

The study was led by Dr. Hao Lei from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Wuhan, reports said.

Meanwhile, Professor Michael Farrell, director of the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Australia, has questioned the study. “The limitations [of this study] are that it is not controlled, and it’s possible that illicit drugs, alcohol or other caffeine-based stimulants might account for the changes. The specificity of ‘internet addiction disorder’ is also questionable,” Farrell reportedly said.

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