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Scientists show how internet dependency alters the human brain 


by Jeremy Laurance
The Independent
January 12, 2012

Internet addiction has for the first time been linked with changes in the brain similar to those seen in people addicted to alcohol, cocaine and cannabis. In a groundbreaking study, researchers used MRI scanners to reveal abnormalities in the brains of adolescents who spent many hours on the internet, to the detriment of their social and personal lives. The finding could throw light on other behavioural problems and lead to the development of new approaches to treatment, researchers said.

An estimated 5 to 10 per cent of internet users are thought to be addicted – meaning they are unable to control their use. The majority are games players who become so absorbed in the activity they go without food or drink for long periods and their education, work and relationships suffer.

Henrietta Bowden Jones, consultant psychiatrist at Imperial College, London, who runs Britain’s only NHS clinic for internet addicts and problem gamblers, said: “The majority of people we see with serious internet addiction are gamers – people who spend long hours in roles in various games that cause them to disregard their obligations. I have seen people who stopped attending university lectures, failed their degrees or their marriages broke down because they were unable to emotionally connect with anything outside the game.”

Although most of the population was spending longer online, that was not evidence of addiction, she said. “It is different. We are doing it because modern life requires us to link up over the net in regard to jobs, professional and social connections – but not in an obsessive way. When someone comes to you and says they did not sleep last night because they spent 14 hours playing games, and it was the same the previous night, and they tried to stop but they couldn’t – you know they have a problem. It does tend to be the gaming that catches people out.”

Researchers in China scanned the brains of 17 adolescents diagnosed with “internet addiction disorder” who had been referred to the Shanghai Mental Health Centre, and compared the results with scans from 16 of their peers.

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About the author: Luis Miranda

Luis R. Miranda is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief at The Real Agenda. His career spans over 19 years and almost every form of news media. He attended Montclair State University's School of Broadcasting and also obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Universidad Latina de Costa Rica. Luis speaks English, Spanish Portuguese and Italian.

9 Responses to Scientists show how internet dependency alters the human brain

  1. Norman

    Great Caesars Ghost, doe this mean we are all addicted because we view “The Real Agenda”? Holy Cow Batman, Is there any hope?

  2. Joyce

    tee,hee,hee…Norman… I believe if we were ALL addicted to ‘The Real Agenda’, there would be REAL hope in the world…

    Unfortunately…………………………………….. it seems it is only thee and me who post… I wonder how many more are actually reading???

  3. News Desk

    24,000 people a month, more or less.

  4. Joyce

    Then there are ALOT of really really smart people addicted to HOPE!! I’m VERY glad to hear that…. Where there is hope, there is love and patience… we need all those attributes to get us through this..

  5. The Federal Farmer (@FederalPharmer)

    So will this be yet another excuse for the federal government to regulate the interwebs?

  6. Norman

    Joyce, we two might just be segregated because of our comment[s]. It is nice to know that if they do drop us into some black hole somewhere, that at least, we’ll have someone to talk to. Now doesn’t that make your day? Whoopee!

  7. Joyce

    Well.. I really enjoy your writings… so that would be a good thing… you are well diversified… intelligence is at the top of your many attributes… but I won’t be dropped in any black hole.. I know we are, on earth, who we were, in heaven, and will be again, after our mission is completed on earth.. no… friend, I’ll be back in Heaven, where I belong… there are no black holes there, only wonders and others, who like us, love GOD and HIS truths and justice…. I plan to see you there.. and we WILL have plenty to talk about…:):):) there is nothing without Him.. nothing. He is all there is. He enjoys us, His friends, because He made us for His own purpose, each one unique and individual… for Himself. And so we are His family..

  8. Norman

    Joyce, I wasn’t talking about “that Black Hole”, I meant the one that the “O” signed into law about taking by the military. I do agree with you though about what you speak. It warms the heart to know that indeed, there are those that still believe, are not full of the spin from drinking the kool-aid, that is so prevalent today. Thanks for the compliments, you are truly blessed.

  9. Joyce

    Well then….another ‘tee hee’ is in order.. I don’t follow ‘politics’ .. they are all liars.. everything has been a lie.. God warns us, to think for ourselves, or ask Himself, if we can’t figure out the lies from the truth.. it is truly confusing….but He says if we ‘believe what others tell us, it is rote memory, and He will not count that as love for Him” .. If you want to converse privately, please feel free.. spiritwoman@charter.net. It is vital to know who we are. Either way, we both belong in Heaven.. with Him. You are very special. We both are.

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