SCANS SHOW COMPUTER GAMERS DEVELOP HYPERCONNECTED NEURAL NETWORKS IN THEIR BRAINS

Brain scans from nearly 200 adolescent boys provide evidence that the brains of compulsive video game players are wired differently. Chronic video game play is associated with hyperconnectivity between several pairs of brain networks. Some of the changes are predicted to help game players respond to new information. Other changes are associated with distractibility and poor impulse control. The research, a collaboration between the University of Utah School of Medicine, and Chung-Ang University in South Korea, was published online in Addiction Biology on Dec. 22, 2015. “Most of the differences we see could be considered beneficial. However the good changes could be inseparable from problems that come with them,” says senior author Jeffrey Anderson, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of neuroradiology at the University of Utah School of Medicine. Those with Internet gaming disorder are obsessed with video games, often to the extent that they give up eating and sleeping to play. This study reports that in adolescent boys with the disorder, certain brain networks that process vision or hearing are more likely to have enhanced coordination to the so-called salience network. The job of the salience network is to focus attention on important events, poising that person to take action. In a video game, enhanced coordination could help a gamer to react more quickly to the rush of an oncoming fighter. And in life, to a ball darting in front of a car, or an unfamiliar voice in a crowded room. “Hyperconnectivity between these brain networks could lead to a more robust ability to direct attention toward targets, and to recognize novel information in the environment,” says Anderson. “The changes could essentially help someone to think more efficiently.” One of the next steps will be to directly determine whether the boys with these brain differences do better on performance tests. More troublesome is an increased coordination between two brain regions, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and temporoparietal junction, a change also seen in patients with neuropsychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia, Down’s syndrome, and autism. Hyperconnectivity between the two regions is also observed in people with poor impulse control. “Having these networks be too connected may increase distractibility,” says Anderson. At this point it’s not known whether persistent video gaming causes rewiring of the brain, or whether people who are wired differently are drawn to video games. According to Doug Hyun Han, M.D., Ph.D., professor at Chung-Ang University School of Medicine and adjunct associate professor at the University of Utah School of Medicine, this is the largest, most comprehensive investigation to date of brain differences in compulsive video game players. Study participants were from South Korea, where video game playing is a popular social activity, much more than in the United States. The Korean government supports his research with the goal of finding ways to identify and treat addicts. Researchers performed magnetic resonance imaging on 106 boys between the ages of 10 to 19 who were seeking treatment for Internet gaming disorder, a psychological condition listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as warranting further research. The brain scans were compared to those from 80 boys without the disorder, and analyzed for regions that were activated simultaneously while participants were at rest, a measure of functional connectivity. The team analyzed activity in 25 pairs of brain regions, 300 combinations in all. Specifically, boys with Internet gaming disorder had statistically significant, functional connections between the following pairs of brain regions: Women’s brain are fairly similar to male brains (you hardly can’t differentiate a male’s brain from a female’s by looking at it), the fact that they choosed boys is probably because gaming addiction is usually more common from males. Also, even if this may seem odd gaming demands more attention than hunting or being a soldier since when you play a game your level of attention throughout the session will be higher, you will have more “stuff to react to”, there’s always something happening in front of your eyes, the difference is that if you’re a gamer you won’t have the constant fear of physical threat which gives more time to focus on those stuff happening. I have read the paper, and concluded that recent research has gone a half-step too far in labelling this a separate disorder, but video game addiction is tentatively identified as it’s own condition – which makes sense. Any sort of addiction warrants research into possible negative effects. I don’t necessarily agree with their interpretation of the results, but that doesn’t make their research pseudoscience or unhelpful. Others are free to base their own research off of these findings, and take it in a new direction. Brains are plastic. Neural connections change constantly. Why is it so hard for people to see that ANY activity if done often enough can permanently change the functioning of their brain? Professional Musicians vs. non musicians have greater cortex volume in the brain regions associated with music playing (prefrontal and primary motor cortex, inferior temporal lobes, etc). Whether or not the changes resulting from long term excessive gaming are maladaptive, it is ridiculous to imply that the changes don’t exist. 1. The DSM-5 is used for assessment and diagnosis of mental disorders and doesn’t include information, guidelines or suggestions on how to treat them (drugs or otherwise). Limited research into Internet Gaming Disorder suggests that the most effective treatment methods are CBT, self-help programs and counseling not drugs. 2. Internet Gaming Disorder is included in the DSM-5 as a condition that needs additional research in order to determine if it even warrants inclusion as a disorder. No one is hurrying to push it into the DSM, but it’s being pushed (rightfully so) as needing further study. Nothing in this article- or the limited access Addiction Biology article- indicate anything sketchy or deserving of the label “pseudo science”. The results were statistically significant, the study had an appropriate comparison group, and the authors conclusions do not extend beyond what is justified by their results. Before you impugn the integrity of the research because it doesn’t jive with your perspective you should do a little legwork and research of your own. It’s pretty clear based on your post history that if anything is suspect, or biased, its your opinion. You are clearly one of those people that believe everything you see on the internet…and every pharm company that says “here, take this. You’ll feel better”. 100 years ago we didn’t NEARLY as many crazy diseases, cancers, disorders, and just an overall generation of extremely fucked up kids running around. The world is going to shit….and the pharm companies are loving it. “Lets dish out more pills” they say. Yet nobody thinks for a second about what LONG TERM affects it will have on you, your kids, your kid’s kids. Not saying its all their fault…just saying that people need to stop jumping to look for a quick fix in the form of a pill to fix stuff. TRY HARDER TO FIX IT WITHOUT DRUGS FIRST. PILLS SHOULD BE A LAST RESORT. You are clearly one of those people that believe everything you see on the internet…and every pharm company that says “here, take this. You’ll feel better”. 100 years ago we didn’t have NEARLY as many crazy diseases, cancers, disorders, and just an overall generation of extremely fucked up kids running around. The world is going to shit….and the pharm companies are loving it. “Lets dish out more pills” they say. Yet nobody thinks for a second about what LONG TERM affects it will have on you, your kids, your kid’s kids. Not saying its all their fault…just saying that people need to stop jumping to look for a quick fix in the form of a pill to fix stuff. TRY HARDER TO FIX IT WITHOUT DRUGS FIRST. PILLS SHOULD BE A LAST RESORT. Lets give that a shot… Just incase your not a troll, in my opinion putting a label to gaming addiction as a disease might help them more then harm them. Specially since many parents are so strict in those parts of the world. Um, i notice a lot of you are recognizing this article as a bad thing, basically what it sounds like the article is saying is that gaming could condition you to take action or avoid danger altogether because certain senses or response systems are heightened. I’m a gamer, ever sense i was 6 years old, i notice when people cross the street 9 times out of 10 they do not even look. When i cross the street in like a fucking ninja, i take this seriously as i don’t trust other people to not run me over. This probably is completely unrelated but i’m curious, do my fellow gamers also take part in the same ritual? “In a video game, enhanced coordination could help a gamer to react more quickly to the rush of an oncoming fighter. And in life, to a ball darting in front of a car, or an unfamiliar voice in a crowded room.” “Hyperconnectivity between these brain networks could lead to a more robust ability to direct attention toward targets, and to recognize novel information in the environment,” says Anderson. “The changes could essentially help someone to think more efficiently.” You just better hope the military does not recognize these perceptual and response system traits as assets and target gamer’s as the new front line infantry, If there was a way to suppress the negative effects it could be valuable to have such a specialized state of consciousness. Infantry came to mind as soon as the article mentioned “targets” Then i read the rest of the article and thought about it…..hey interesting theory, but thank god most of us are also out of shape! Even though it would only take a few months of training to condition the body. Stay away from recruitment centres guys! Andrew, another edit: You should have written “its proper usage” instead of “it’s proper usage”. Although it’s true that singular possession for most words is usually denoted by an apostrophe and the letter “s” (for example, the bird’s wing, or the girl’s dress), the contraction for “it is” and “it has” also require an apostrophe and the letter “s”. To differentiate, the contraction (it’s as a short form of “it is” or “it has”) keeps the apostrophe, but the possessive form loses it. Another way to look at this is that the possessive form — its — is a neutral form of “his” and “hers” as personal pronouns. That’s the easiest way to remember which version to use, in my opinion. If the phrase can be broken down into “it is” or “it has”, use “it’s”. If the phrase cannot be broken down into either of these choices, use “its”. Pretty sure a lot of infantry guys play games, and vice versa. I even ready about a “gamer” who completed SEAL training. Real life isn’t as simple as pushing buttons, moving the mouse, and shooting anything that appears red in your crosshairs. It’s as much of a complicated RPG strategy game as it is an action game, if not more. Even if you get yourself in shape, there’s no way one can move as fast and still keep their weapons as precise as the twitch movements in games. You have to physically keep track of your ammunition in your magazines, the safety switch, whilst keeping communication wih your teammates and being mindful of the situation. No dialogue messages to clue you in. And even the most physically fit warfighter is no superman. He is still vulnerable to gunfire and relies on his teammates above all. It would be most efficient to manage responses in this one thread to avoid repeating things unnecessarily. Nick Bostrom coined the term anthropic bias awhile ago, fortunately a natural state of mind for most people was something that I never harbored for whatever reason ( via psypost.org ). Might I suggest approaching the problem of understanding black holes as a temporal catastrophe for general relativity, a problem yet to be sufficiently solved. The answer was never to be found within ideas requiring the certain suicide of an observer in effort to gain further knowledge. It could however to be found in how to take what is represented by infinitely curved space-time and how to produce the observer. This line of thinking results from a black hole merger paradox that nobody bothered to think of… 

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