MRI finds brains of children hooked on video games similar to those of drug, alcohol addicts

An MRI study out of California has found excessive social media and addictive video games can have an effect on children’s brains similar to that of drug abuse or alcoholism.

The research comes from California State University, the Independent reported, where scientists used MR imaging to look into the brains of young patients preoccupied with gripping games like Fortnite, a post-apocalyptic survival game first released in 2017. 

“Say someone sees a video game or cellphone; this reward system in the brain lights up,” Ofir Turel, a co-author of the study, said. “It’s a very strong activation compared to other people.”

Turel said in the study, children hooked on gaming had smaller—and more sensitive—amygdala-striatal systems, meaning those brains were able to process the stimuli of social media or video games faster. 

“It is associated with structural change in that this brain area is smaller in people who are excessive users,” Turel said. “The smaller system can process associations much faster. But, like a car, you need to put more gas into it to generate more power.”

Read the story from the Independent here:

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