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Open Access Highly Accessed Short paper

Reduced orbitofrontal cortical thickness in male adolescents with internet addiction

Soon-Beom Hong123, Jae-Won Kim3, Eun-Jung Choi4, Ho-Hyun Kim5, Jeong-Eun Suh6, Chang-Dai Kim7, Paul Klauser1, Sarah Whittle1, Murat Yűcel1, Christos Pantelis1 and Soon-Hyung Yi4*

Author Affiliations

1 Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Center, Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne and Melbourne Health, Parkville, Victoria, Australia

2 Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Parkville, Victoria, Australia

3 Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea

4 Department of Child Development and Family Studies, College of Human Ecology, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea

5 Interdisciplinary Program (Early Childhood Education Major), College of Education, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea

6 Center for Campus Life & Culture, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea

7 Department of Education (Educational Counseling Major), College of Education, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea

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Behavioral and Brain Functions 2013, 9:11  doi:10.1186/1744-9081-9-11

Published: 12 March 2013

Abstract

Background

The orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) has consistently been implicated in the pathology of both drug and behavioral addictions. However, no study to date has examined OFC thickness in internet addiction. In the current study, we investigated the existence of differences in cortical thickness of the OFC in adolescents with internet addiction. On the basis of recently proposed theoretical models of addiction, we predicted a reduction of thickness in the OFC of internet addicted individuals.

Findings

Participants were 15 male adolescents diagnosed as having internet addiction and 15 male healthy comparison subjects. Brain magnetic resonance images were acquired on a 3T MRI and group differences in cortical thickness were analyzed using FreeSurfer. Our results confirmed that male adolescents with internet addiction have significantly decreased cortical thickness in the right lateral OFC (p<0.05).

Conclusion

This finding supports the view that the OFC alterations in adolescents with internet addiction reflect a shared neurobiological marker of addiction-related disorders in general.

Keywords:
Internet addiction; Magnetic resonance imaging; Cortical thickness; Orbitofrontal cortex