Abstract Body:Objective: Internet addiction disorder (IAD) is increasingly recognized as a legitimate clinical disorder and social problem that critically require treatment, yet its pathophysiological mechanism is not well understood. The aim of this study was to determine if cross-frequency phase-amplitude coupling of the electroencephalography (EEG) detects possible abnormalities in functional connectivity in IAD patients. Methods: 19-electrode EEGs were recorded from 16 IAD patients and 35 healthy subjects. Their cross-frequency phase-amplitude coupling was estimated to compare with clinical measures including daily internet usage (DIU), internet addiction test scores (IAT), Barrett Impulsiveness scores (BIS), Beck depression inventory scores (BDI) and Beck anxiety inventory scores (BAI). Results: The IAD group showed decreased theta-phase gamma-amplitude coupling (TGC) as well as increased delta and theta powers, compared with the healthy control group. Further, TGC negatively correlated with IU, IAT, BIS, BDI and BAI in frontal, central, parietal and occipital regions. Conclusions: The TGC is a valuable marker for abnormal interactions of functional brain networks in IAD patients. We suggest that such abnormal interactions among large-scale brain networks are responsible for the impulsive or maladaptive behavior that is associated with internet addiction. Significance: The TGC could be a promising neurophysiological indicator for diagnosing the internet addiction.
Lay Language Summary:: The more a child is addicted to the internet game, the less conversation occurs between parents and a child. We have found the similar phenomenon occurs that less communication happens in the brain when one is addicted to the internet game. The internet game addiction is an illness that accompanies an increase in impulsivity and aggression, as well as in social and occupational dysfunction, as one becomes more absorbed in the internet game. In South Korea, the internet game addiction becomes a great social problem gradually. Parents addicted to online game neglected their 3-month-old daughter, eventually leading to her death. Kim, who declined to give his real name, had been battling with similar demons. “Everything just sort of piled up into a breaking point,” Kim said. Kim, in his late 20s, not only lost a lot of opportunities in his life, but his health, after more than 10 hours of gameplay at a time. According to a recent survey by the Korea Internet Addiction Center, 10.7 percent of teens and 6.0 percent of the adult population are estimated to be addicted to the internet game. With the recent release of the fifth edition Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the internet game addiction has been included as a promising behavioral disorder that requires further investigation. The technique we used can be thought as a conversation between people. When people get together and chat, we would not expect them to be speaking all at once at the same time. They would be most likely to take turns speaking and listening to others. The same thing happens in the brain when different functional regions communicate with each other, such as fast neuronal oscillation amplitude (gamma frequency from 30 to 80Hz) becomes embedded in syncopation with the slow neuronal oscillation timing (theta frequency from 4 to 8 Hz). This phenomenon is theta-phase gamma-amplitude coupling. This feature represents communication between the functional regions of the cerebral cortex of the brain. We compared the resting state electroencephalography (EEG) of 16 patients diagnosed with the internet game addiction and 35 normal individuals. Then we applied the EEG cross-frequency phase-amplitude coupling technique to quantify communication efficiency between regions of the brain. As a result, we have found that the more a person is addicted to the internet game, the less communication occurs between regions in the brain. Since EEG is relatively inexpensive, fast and easy to administer, our technique can be expected to earn wide clinical interest and applicability as an early diagnostic and assessment tool for internet game addiction. Furthermore, our study may provide a new insight into deeper understanding of internet game addiction by investigating different perspective of functional communication in the brain. Since the internet game addiction has been thought to be closely related with other psychiatric disorders, such as impulse control disorder, depression, and anxiety disorder, we are going to study comorbid interaction between these disorders and try to fine-tune our diagnostic technique as a next step. Treatment protocols should also be developed based on the further understanding of the neural mechanisms of the addiction.
Neuroscience 2013 (43rd annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience)Exit