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Does video game overload affect brain?

An attendee plays an electronic game during E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo held at the LA Convention Center in Los Angeles on June 9, 2011. UPI/Phil McCarten
An attendee plays an electronic game during E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo held at the LA Convention Center in Los Angeles on June 9, 2011. UPI/Phil McCarten | License Photo

LONDON, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- Playing video games for hours on end can cause physical changes in children's brains that lead to attention and behavior problems, a British scientist says.

Technology such as video games that have a strong impact on the senses can temporarily or permanently deactivate certain nerve connections in the brain, Susan Greenfield, former director of the Royal Institution, told The Daily Telegraph.

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"The human brain has evolved to adapt to the environment. It therefore follows that if the environment is changing it will have an impact on your brain," she said.

"Screen technologies cause high arousal, which in turn activates the brain system's underlying addiction and reward, resulting in the attraction of yet more screen-based activity."

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Children, on average, will spend almost 2,000 hours in front of a screen between their 10th and 11th birthdays, she said.

Greenfield's views have been the subject of debate in Britain.

"Some of [her] views are controversial, which is a great thing for future classroom discussions," Jenny Dwyer, headmistress of Sherborne Girls' School, said.

"We know that her thoughts on how modern technology is changing the way we think and feel are going to provoke some lively debate among the staff and girls."

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