Just the term “smartphone addiction” doesn’t sound particularly fun or good, but it seems that apart from the social implications of being addicted to our phones, a recent study has found that smartphone addiction actually does some damage to our brains by creating an imbalance in them, which once again sounds like a pretty bad thing.

This is according to a study presented today at the Radiological Society of North America during the organization’s annual meeting. The study involved using a magnetic resonance spectroscopy to look at the brains of teens were addicted to their phones and the internet. The study consisted of 19 subjects with a mean age of 15.9 that were diagnosed with internet or smartphone addiction, and an additional 19 gender and age-matched “healthy” controls.

Based on their findings, Dr. Hyung Suk Seo who is a professor of neuroradiology at Korea University in Seoul, South Korea found that the addicted teens had a higher score when it came to depression, anxiety, insomnia, and impulsivity. The MRS exam also revealed that compared to the healthy controls, the addicted teens had higher ratio of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) to glutamate-glutamine in their anterior cingulate cortex.

While more study needs to be done to understand the implications of the findings, Dr. Seo believes that the increased GABA levels could be related to the “functional loss of integration and regulation of processing in the cognitive and emotional neural network.”

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