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Surprising Science

Your Internet Addiction May Be Genetic

German scientists have discovered a gene variant that may explain why you're online reading this article at 3 in the morning.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn


What’s the Latest Development?

Surely those of us who waste lots of hours online have wondered at some point whether there was something compelling us to stay tied to our machines. To that end, the recent discovery of a genetic component to Internet addiction may come as good news: According to scientists at the University of Bonn, a gene variant commonly found in patients suffering from nicotine addiction also turned up in a large number of subjects with “problematic Internet use,” characterized as follows: “[A]ll their thoughts revolve around the Internet during the day, and they feel their wellbeing is severely impacted if they have to go without it.” 

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What’s the Big Idea?

As with similar disorders thought to be caused or influenced by genetics, it’s believed that better understanding will lead to better treatments. One intriguing finding was that the gene variant appeared much more frequently in Internet-addicted women than it did in men. Researcher Christian Montag surmised that this could be due to “a specific subgroup of Internet dependency, such as the use of social networks.” However, and to their credit, they state that the study needs many more different kinds of subjects before any solid conclusions can be made.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com


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