New study implies mobile Facebook use could decrease brain matte - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

New study implies mobile Facebook use could decrease brain matter

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A recent study conducted by Ulm University and Bonn University in Germany suggests a high frequency of Facebook use on mobile phones is linked to a low volume of gray matter in the reward center of the brain.

The study, conducted over a five-day period, tracked 46 men and 39 women and how often they used Facebook. After that, MRI scans measured participants' brain structures, specifically the cortex within the nucleus accumbens.

The conclusion, according to the study:

“It appeared, that in particular higher daily frequency of checking Facebook on the smartphone was robustly linked with smaller gray matter volumes of the nucleus accumbens."

Clarissa Perales of Fresno says she checks her Facebook four or five times a day.

“I'm just looking at the News Feed and the pictures and everything that my friends are posting, whatever my family is posting,” said Perales.

To some, checking social media many times a day might be excessive. To others, it might not be that much. Doctor Robert Price, a neurologist with Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo, weighed in on the study when it comes to cause and effect.

“Perhaps people who have thin nucleus accumbens cortex are those that are inclined to use the Facebook more,” Price said. “Or whether it's the effect of that use, that those that are using it thinning their cortex at consequence.”

Price says it’s difficult to pinpoint what causes the loss of gray matter. The thinning of the nucleus accumbens cortex could also be from other factors, like nutritional status and weight.

“I think it's very difficult to conclude from this data that Facebook is good or bad or indifferent,” Price said.

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