Voxel-level comparison of arterial spin-labeled perfusion magnetic resonance imaging in adolescents with internet gaming addiction

Qi Feng, Xue Chen, Jinhua Sun, Yan Zhou, Yawen Sun, Weina Ding, Yong Zhang, Zhiguo Zhuang, Jianrong Xu, Yasong Du
Behavioral and Brain Functions: BBF 2013, 9 (1): 33

BACKGROUND: Although recent studies have clearly demonstrated functional and structural abnormalities in adolescents with internet gaming addiction (IGA), less is known about how IGA affects perfusion in the human brain. We used pseudocontinuous arterial spin-labeling (ASL) perfusion functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure the effects of IGA on resting brain functions by comparing resting cerebral blood flow in adolescents with IGA and normal subjects.

METHODS: Fifteen adolescents with IGA and 18 matched normal adolescents underwent structural and perfusion fMRI in the resting state. Direct subtraction, voxel-wise general linear modeling was performed to compare resting cerebral blood flow (CBF) between the 2 groups. Correlations were calculated between the mean CBF value in all clusters that survived AlphaSim correction and the Chen Internet Addiction Scale (CIAS) scores, Barratt Impulsiveness Scale-11 (BIS-11) scores, or hours of Internet use per week (hours) in the 15 subjects with IGA.

RESULTS: Compared with control subjects, adolescents with IGA showed significantly higher global CBF in the left inferior temporal lobe/fusiform gyrus, left parahippocampal gyrus/amygdala, right medial frontal lobe/anterior cingulate cortex, left insula, right insula, right middle temporal gyrus, right precentral gyrus, left supplementary motor area, left cingulate gyrus, and right inferior parietal lobe. Lower CBF was found in the left middle temporal gyrus, left middle occipital gyrus, and right cingulate gyrus. There were no significant correlations between mean CBF values in all clusters that survived AlphaSim correction and CIAS or BIS-11 scores or hours of Internet use per week.

CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we used ASL perfusion fMRI and noninvasively quantified resting CBF to demonstrate that IGA alters the CBF distribution in the adolescent brain. The results support the hypothesis that IGA is a behavioral addiction that may share similar neurobiological abnormalities with other addictive disorders.

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