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Altered Regional Cerebral Glucose Metabolism in Internet Game Overusers: A 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose Positron Emission Tomography Study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 November 2014

Hyun Soo Park
Seoul National University College of Medicine
Sang Hee Kim
Korea University
Seong Ae Bang
Seoul National University College of Medicine
Eun Jin Yoon
Seoul National University College of Medicine
Sang Soo Cho
Seoul National University College of Medicine
Sang Eun Kim*
Seoul National University College of Medicin
Department of Nuclear Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, 300 Gumi-dong, Bundang-gu, Seongnam 463-707, South Korea; Tel: 82-31-787-7671, Fax, 82-31-787-4018; e-mail:,


Introduction: Internet game overuse is an emerging disorder and features diminished impulse control and poor reward-processing. In an attempt to understand the neurobiological bases of Internet game overuse, we investigated the differences in regional cerebral glucose metabolism at resting state between young individuals with Internet game overuse and those with normal use using 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography study.

Methods: Twenty right-handed male participants (9 normal users: 24.7±2.4 years of age, 11 overusers: 23.5±2.9 years of age) participated. A trait measure of impulsivity was also completed after scanning.

Results: Internet game overusers showed greater impulsiveness than the normal users and there was a positive correlation between the severity of Internet game overuse and impulsiveness. Imaging data showed that the overusers had increased glucose metabolism in the right middle orbitofrontal gyrus, left caudate nucleus, and right insula, and decreased metabolism in the bilateral postcentral gyrus, left precentrai gyrus, and bilateral occipital regions compared to normal users.

Conclusion: Internet game overuse may be associated with abnormal neurobiological mechanisms in the orbitofrontal cortex, striatum, and sensory regions, which are implicated in impulse control, reward processing, and somatic representation of previous experiences. Our results support the idea that Internet game overuse shares psychological and neural mechanisms with other types of impulse control disorders and substance/non-substance-related addiction.

Original Research
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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