Blame genes for Facebook addiction: study
Researchers have found a link between a toxic relationship with the Web and a genetic mutation that also plays a role in nicotine addiction.
Researchers at the University of Bonn in Germany interviewed 843 people about their online habits.
Of them, 132 showed signs of an unhealthy relationship with the Internet all of their thoughts revolved around it and their sense of well being was shaken if they couldn't go online.
By comparing the genes of the two groups, the researchers found the subset of likely Internet addicts more often carried a mutation on the CHRNA4 gene, which is typically linked to nicotine addiction.
The genetic mutation occurred more in Internet-addicted women.
"Within the group of subjects exhibiting problematic Internet behaviour this variant occurs more frequently in particular, in women," lead author, Christian Montag, said.
"The sex-specific genetic finding may result from a specific subgroup of Internet dependency, such as the use of social networks or such," Montag said.
"The finding adds to evidence that Internet addiction is not a figment of our imagination," Montag added.
The study was published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine.
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