Breaking News
December 17, 2017 - Researchers explore how toxic protein clusters linked to Parkinson’s disrupt brain cells
December 17, 2017 - Autism traits linked to risk of depression, suicidal thoughts in people with psychosis
December 17, 2017 - Jimmie Holland’s Long Medical Odyssey
December 17, 2017 - Controversial MS Treatment Found to Be Ineffective: MedlinePlus Health News
December 17, 2017 - Time of day affects test results for asthma, researchers find
December 17, 2017 - Scientists create atomic scale map that tracks how brain signals connect to neurons
December 17, 2017 - Tips for buying safe toys during the holidays – and year-round
December 17, 2017 - CardioBrief: Will Entresto Sell Big After All?
December 17, 2017 - Water baths as good as bleach baths for treating eczema
December 17, 2017 - Valley fever cases see sharp increase in November, say UVA experts
December 17, 2017 - New Insight on Killer Fungus Threatening Bats
December 17, 2017 - Early Atherosclerosis Defies ‘Normal’ Cholesterol
December 17, 2017 - CRF1 stress receptor is regulator of mast cell activity during stress
December 17, 2017 - CREST Failed to Dampen Enthusiasm for Carotid Stenting in Elderly
December 17, 2017 - Rising levels of HIV drug resistance
December 17, 2017 - Aging brain’s failure to coordinate deep-sleep brainwaves makes older adults forget
December 17, 2017 - Rural Workers Have Higher Exposures to COPD-Causing Pollutants
December 17, 2017 - Don’t Delay Hip Fracture Surgery. Here’s Why: MedlinePlus Health News
December 17, 2017 - NIH launches HIV prevention trial of long-acting injectable medication in women
December 17, 2017 - Op-Ed: Get Ready for a Tsunami of ECGs
December 17, 2017 - Observation care may save more than thought
December 17, 2017 - Scientists explore effectiveness of action video games to combat dyslexia
December 17, 2017 - Teens Acting Badly? Smog Could Be to Blame
December 17, 2017 - FDA Says ‘Yes’ to Short-Acting Insulin Admelog
December 17, 2017 - Vaping popular among teens; opioid misuse at historic lows
December 17, 2017 - Lower Urinary Symptoms Occur in Almost All Patients with SSc
December 17, 2017 - Genetic mutation in extended Amish family in Indiana protects against aging and increases longevity (Update)
December 16, 2017 - Butler Hospital launches international Alzheimer’s disease prevention study
December 16, 2017 - iMedicalApps: Virtual Reality Boosts Self-Confidence for Med Students
December 16, 2017 - Researchers validate five new genes responsible for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
December 16, 2017 - New genetic analysis of candidiasis reveals surprising fungal sex secrets
December 16, 2017 - New high precision machine-learning model could help accelerate drug discovery
December 16, 2017 - Groundbreaking gene therapy trial brings cure for hemophilia closer
December 16, 2017 - Racial Differences Seen in IgG4 Disease
December 16, 2017 - Treacher Collins Syndrome
December 16, 2017 - New approach to tracking how deadly ‘superbugs’ travel could slow their spread
December 16, 2017 - Muscle paralysis may promote breakdown of bones
December 16, 2017 - WSU scientists create injectable dye to track progression of diseases
December 16, 2017 - Kaiser Permanente delivers clot-busting drugs to stroke patients more than twice as fast as national rates
December 16, 2017 - Some Great Holiday Foods for Weight Loss
December 16, 2017 - Shared Decision-Making Strategies for Lung Ca Screening Get High Marks
December 16, 2017 - Lactic acid bacteria can protect against Influenza A virus, study finds
December 16, 2017 - Cancer immunotherapy’s effectiveness may depend on patient’s genetic makeup
December 16, 2017 - Researchers explore patient-doctor conversations, best practices linked to opioid tapering
December 16, 2017 - ‘Virtual child’ to help professionals learn key techniques to treat children with autism
December 16, 2017 - IU scientists discover way to make drug treatment more successful against malaria
December 16, 2017 - Prostate cancer researchers find significant disparities between two liquid biopsy providers
December 16, 2017 - ED-Diagnosed Lung Ca Patients Worse Off: Clin Onc News Report
December 16, 2017 - Calcium in Urine Test: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information
December 16, 2017 - Pregnancy-related conditions taken together leave moms—and dads—at risk
December 16, 2017 - Research uncovers mechanism implicated in defective function of tumor-associated dendritic cells
December 16, 2017 - OncoBreak: Stubborn Racial Disparities; Paid Medical Leave & Chemo; DIY Gene Tests
December 16, 2017 - Critical link between obesity and diabetes has been identified
December 16, 2017 - Transfusion dependence reduces access to high-quality end-of-life care for leukemia patients
December 16, 2017 - Porvair and Suzhou Tianlong Bio to develop epigenetic analysis technologies
December 16, 2017 - FDA Approves Ixifi (infliximab-qbtx), a Biosimilar to Remicade
December 16, 2017 - Morning Break: Trump to Get Check-Up; Cancerous Transplant; Death Knell for MIPS?
December 16, 2017 - First transcatheter implant for diastolic heart failure successful
December 16, 2017 - ‘Sushi-like’ nanodiscs provide structural snapshots of misfolding proteins
December 16, 2017 - Inherited gene variation may be to blame for poor survival of patients with early-onset breast cancer
December 16, 2017 - Sign-up deadline is Friday, but some people may get extra time
December 16, 2017 - Higher Booze Taxes Might Pay Off for Public Health
December 16, 2017 - Regular Activity in Midlife Spares Joints in Women
December 16, 2017 - Rain May Not Cause Achy Joints After All: MedlinePlus Health News
December 16, 2017 - MedDiet adherence doesn’t affect acute heart failure mortality
December 16, 2017 - HKBU experts develop new generation of smart anti-cancer drug molecules
December 16, 2017 - Chronic Kidney Disease Audit finds wide variations in coding of CKD patients in primary care
December 16, 2017 - Scientists use nanoparticles to fight Mucoviscidosis
December 16, 2017 - Increasing physical activity decreases risk of death from lymphoma
December 16, 2017 - Fear compromises the health, well-being of immigrant families, survey finds
December 16, 2017 - Rejected antibiotic candidate could be worth a second look, research finds
December 16, 2017 - Is Nation on the Right Track to Combat Opioid Crisis?
December 16, 2017 - Arthritis No Longer Just a Disease of the Old: MedlinePlus Health News
December 16, 2017 - Study reveals biology behind why muscle stem cells respond differently to aging or injury
December 16, 2017 - Family members without inherited mutation have increased risk of melanoma
December 16, 2017 - Researchers reveal previously unknown mechanism that inhibits cells’ ability to develop into tumors
December 16, 2017 - Studies highlight potential of fMRI applications to detect, treat epilepsy in children
December 16, 2017 - Active surveillance proposed as first-line approach to manage patients with low-risk PMC of the thyroid
December 16, 2017 - Patients’ life values affect their attendance at medical treatment for pelvic-floor dysfunction
December 16, 2017 - Experts consider hazards of antibiotic resistances to be high
Smartphone addiction may be responsible for an imbalance in the brain, study says

Smartphone addiction may be responsible for an imbalance in the brain, study says

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

A new study presented yesterday at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) identified an imbalance in the brain chemistry of young people who are addicted to smartphones and the internet.

Credit: lakov Filimonov/ Shutterstock.com

A recent Pew Research Center study indicated that 46% of Americans believe that they can’t live without their smartphones. Even though this is an exaggerated sentiment, the number of people becoming highly dependent on portable electronic devices like smartphones for news, information, games, and even the occasional phone call, are increasing.

In addition to the growing concern that young people in particular are spending too much time on their phones rather than interacting with others, questions on the immediate effects on the brain and its possible long-term consequences are also being raised.

To achieve a unique insight into the brains of teenagers who are addicted to smartphones and the Internet, a team of researchers from the Korea University in Seoul, South Korea, led by Hyung Suk Seo, M.D., used magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS)—a type of MRI that measures the chemical composition of the brain.

The team enrolled 19 young people with a mean age of 15.5 years, who were diagnosed with smartphone or Internet addiction and 19 gender-and-aged-matched healthy controls.

As a part of the study, 12 among the addicted teens were provided with nine weeks of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a modified form of cognitive therapy for gaming addiction.

Standardized smartphone and internet addiction tests were used to calculate the severity of internet addiction. Questions were based on the extent to which the use of Internet and smartphone impacts daily routines, social life, feelings, productivity and sleeping patterns.

Dr. Seo explained that young people who were addicted had considerably higher scores in anxiety, depression, insomnia severity as well as impulsivity.

“The higher the score, the more severe the addiction,”

Hyung Suk Seo, M.D.

MRS exams were performed on the addicted teenagers both prior to and following behavioral therapy, while for control patients, a single MRS study was carried out in order to measure the levels of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter in the brain that slows and inhibits signals, and glutamate-glutamine (Glx), a neurotransmitter that causes increases electrical excitement in neurons.

Prior researches had indicated GABA to be involved in motor and vision control as well as the regulation of numerous brain functions, like anxiety.

The findings of the MRS suggested that, prior to therapy, the ratio of GABA to Glx was considerably increased in the anterior cingulate cortex of smartphone- and Internet-addicted youth, when compared with the healthy controls.

According to Dr. Seo, the ratios of GABA to creatine and GABA to glutamate correspond highly to clinical scales of internet and smartphone addictions, anxiety and depression.

High levels of GABA can lead to several side effects, such as drowsiness and anxiety.

While further research is required to understand the clinical implications of the findings, Dr. Seo feels that higher GABA in the anterior cingulate gyrus in internet and smartphone addiction might be associated with the functional loss of integration and regulation of processing in the cognitive and emotional neural network.

However, the results also suggested that after CBT, GABA to Glx ratios in the addicted youth significantly reduced or normalized.

The increased GABA levels and disrupted balance between GABA and glutamate in the anterior cingulate cortex may contribute to our understanding the pathophysiology of and treatment for addictions.”

Dr. Hyung Suk Seo, Korea University, Seoul

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles