Thursday, January 12, 2012

Internet addicts have their brains wired differently

While internet has been a commodity for just a decade or so, there is already a disorder associated with it: internet addiction disorder. Patients 'suffering' from it lack control over their internet use. It may sound as something that is made up to be able to attach labels to people, but scientists have revealed that people diagnosed with this disorder possess irregularities in the wiring of their brain.

White matter
The wires that connect brain cells with each other is frequently referred to as white matter, because of the white coating that surrounds it. Brain cells are dubbed grey matter. White matter is important for communication between cells. Internet addicts possess deficiencies in the communication between several brain areas, scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Wuhan note after studying patients with an MRI scanner. They were found to have a lower density of white matter, which was not compensated by a higher density elsewhere. According to the researchers, people with internet addiction disorder lack structural integrity and organization of white matter.

Emotion and cognition
People diagnosed with internet addiction disorder have an impaired wire structure in brain areas that regulate the generation of emotions, and processing them. Additionally, cognitive impairment in attention, decision making and control, was found as well. It shows a lot of important brain functions are connected to the aforementioned disorder, something that was likely unexpected. Though, the scientists note that their findings share similarities with brains of people addicted to substances.

While the Chinese study provides us with a biological component for what seems a modern, man-made problem, the implications of their findings are not clear. Because a relatively large number of brain areas are involved in internet addiction disorder, it is likely that internet addiction disorder is a manifestation of a deeper, underlying problem. More research is needed to unravel the full implications of faulty wiring in these brain areas. 


  1. Thanks for taking the time to discuss internet addicts, i really feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic.Appreciated

  2. With any type of addiction, proper guidance and discipline is the main key to avoid it. Thanks for sharing this post.