Bernd Lenz's research while affiliated with Central Institute of Mental Health and other places

Publications (147)

Article
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A previous highly controlled pilot study revealed that body mass index (BMI) predicts outcome of in‐patients with alcohol use disorder (AUD) in a sex‐specific manner. We here provide translational evidence from a daily clinical routine setting and investigated whether BMI and sex interact to predict 24‐month readmission risk in four naturalistic co...
Preprint
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Background: Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a critical public health issue with sex-specific characteristics and the need for a better mechanistic understanding. Initial evidence suggests that progesterone can reduce alcohol intake, while estradiol leads to an increase. However, we lack knowledge about how progesterone relative to estradiol influence...
Article
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Alcohol use is an important health issue and has been suggested to contribute to the burden produced by obesity. Both alcohol use and obesity are subject to sex differences. The available studies on the relationship between alcohol use and body mass index (BMI) report inconsistent results with positive, negative, and null findings which requests a...
Preprint
Introduction Formal genetics studies show that smoking is influenced by genetic factors; exploring this on the molecular level can offer deeper insight into the etiology of smoking behaviours. Methods Summary statistics from the GWAS and Sequencing Consortium of Alcohol and Nicotine (GSCAN) Consortium were used to calculate polygenic risk scores (P...
Article
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Importance Alcohol consumption (AC) leads to death and disability worldwide. Ongoing discussions on potential negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on AC need to be informed by real-world evidence. Objective To examine whether lockdown measures are associated with AC and consumption-related temporal and psychological within-person mechanisms. D...
Article
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Self-regulation, the ability to guide behavior according to one’s goals, plays an integral role in understanding loss of control over unwanted behaviors, for example in alcohol use disorder (AUD). Yet, experimental tasks that measure processes underlying self-regulation are not easy to deploy in contexts where such behaviors usually occur, namely o...
Article
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Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is a controversially discussed inflammatory marker in major depressive disorder (MDD). While some studies show an association of high MIF protein levels with depression, animal models have yielded conflicting results. Thus, it remains elusive as to whether MIF plays an anti- or pro-depressive role. There...
Article
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Prenatal androgenization associates sex-dependently with behavior and mental health in adolescence and adulthood, including risk-taking, emotionality, substance use, and depression. However, still little is known on how it affects underlying neural correlates, like frontal brain control regions. Thus, we tested whether prenatal androgen load is sex...
Article
Male depression is an attempt to extend the definition of depression to address an atypical cluster of symptoms that have been associated with suicide completion in community-dwelling populations. These include externalizing behaviour, avoidance, emotional suppression, irritability, substance misuse, and risk-seeking behaviour. Temporal discounting...
Article
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Background Males consume more alcohol than females, and alcohol use disorder (AUD) is more prevalent in males than females. However, females progress faster to AUD. Sex differences in neural alcohol cue reactivity were previously observed in young social drinkers, indicating a role of hypersensitivity to alcohol-related cues in very early stages of...
Article
Prenatal stress is a critical life event often resulting in mental illnesses in the offspring. The critical developmental processes, which might trigger a cascade of molecular events resulting in mental disorders in adulthood, are still to be elucidated. Here we proposed that sex hormones, particularly testosterone, might determine the “development...
Article
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Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a major global mental health challenge. Knowledge concerning mechanisms underlying AUD and predictive biomarkers of AUD progression and relapse are insufficient. Recently, addiction research is focusing attention on the oxytocin system. However, to our knowledge, blood concentrations of the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) hav...
Article
Full-text available
Importance: Alcohol consumption (AC) leads to death and disability worldwide. Ongoing discussions on potential negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on AC need to be informed by real-world evidence. Objective: To examine whether lockdown measures are associated with AC and consumption-related temporal and psychological within-person mechanis...
Preprint
Self-regulation, the ability to guide behavior according to one’s goals, plays an integral role in understanding loss of control behaviors a pertinent example being substance use disorders (SUD). Yet, experimental tasks that measure processes underlying self-regulation are not easy to deploy in contexts where such behaviors often occur, namely in r...
Article
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Background Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a main reason for suicide, and serum lipids are involved in both affective disorders and related suicidal behavior. Moreover, masculine depression has been suggested as a subtype of depression with an increased risk for suicide. Here, we studied the relationship between body measures, serum lipids, suic...
Article
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Introduction Although alcohol dependence (AD) is highly prevalent, only few medications are approved for its treatment. While currently approved medications, such as naltrexone (NTX), reduce craving and relapse risk to a certain extent, new approaches are needed to complement these pharmaca. One potential compound is oxytocin (OXY), which proved be...
Article
Alcohol use, abuse, and addiction, and resulting health hazards are highly sex-dependent with unknown mechanisms. Previously, strong links between the SMPD3 gene and its coded protein neutral sphingomyelinase 2 (NSM) and alcohol abuse, emotional behavior, and bone defects were discovered and multiple mechanisms were identified for females. Here we...
Article
Previous studies have established a role of sex hormones in alcohol use disorder (AUD).Only few clinical investigations with low numbers of patients with AUD have focused on the sulphated form of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA-S), despite its function as a neuromodulating sex steroid on receptors in the central nervous system (γ-aminobutyric acid typ...
Preprint
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In the current pandemic caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19), a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms is essential to reduce morbidity and mortality and treat post-COVID-19 disease. Here, we analyzed alterations of sphingolipids and their metabolizing enzymes in 125 men and 74 women tested...
Article
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Mental disorders are highly comorbid and occur together with physical diseases, which are often considered to arise from separate pathogenic pathways. We observed in alcohol-dependent patients increased serum activity of neutral sphingomyelinase. A genetic association analysis in 456,693 volunteers found associations of haplotypes of SMPD3 coding f...
Article
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Due to its high ecological validity, virtual reality (VR) technology has emerged as a powerful tool for mental health research. Despite the wide use of VR simulations in research on mental illnesses, the study of addictive processes through the use of VR environments is still at its dawn. In a systematic literature search, we identified 38 reports...
Article
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Zusammenfassung. Hintergrund: Im Vergleich zu Frauen konsumieren Männer häufiger Alkohol, Tabak sowie illegale Drogen und sind anfälliger für pathologisches Glücksspiel und süchtiges Internetspielen. Die genannten Geschlechtsunterschiede deuten sich bereits im Adoleszentenalter an. Entsprechendes Konsumverhalten steht mit externalisierenden Auffäll...
Article
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a severe illness, for which we lack sufficient mechanistic understanding. Preliminary evidence associates AUD with the oxytocin (OXT) system. Here we investigated alterations in endogenous OXT blood concentrations in patients with AUD and their association with alcohol drinking and prospective course. In sex-separated...
Article
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(1) This longitudinal study aimed to investigate the link between prenatal alcohol exposure and prenatal maternal depression with the offspring’s low-grade inflammatory status. (2) Prenatal alcohol exposure was determined via maternal self-report during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy (self-report+: n = 29) and the meconium alcohol metabolite Ethyl...
Article
Background : Male depression syndrome (Male-DS) refers to alternative depression symptoms related to the male sex, such as externalizing behaviors, emotional suppression, substance misuse, and risk-seeking. Although these symptoms contribute to gender bias in the diagnosis of depression, Male-DS can be found in both sexes. In this cross-sectional s...
Article
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Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a severe psychiatric condition with key symptoms of low mood and lack of motivation, joy, and pleasure. Recently, the acid sphingomyelinase (ASM)/ceramide system has been implicated in the pathogenesis of MDD. ASM is a lysosomal glycoprotein that catalyzes the hydrolysis of sphingomyelin, an abundant component of...
Article
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Pornography addiction and sexual dysfunction are increasingly prevalent in young men. Previous studies suggest that prenatal androgen exposure plays a role in addiction and sexual functionality. Here, we tested whether lower second-to-fourth finger length ratio (2D:4D) and later age at spermarche, both putative indicators of higher androgen levels...
Article
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Alcohol consumption during pregnancy may lead to permanent damage in the offspring, including fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), which have an estimated prevalence of 1–8% worldwide. In adulthood, diagnosing FASD is time-consuming and costly. This study aimed to evaluate the discriminatory power of a German screening instrument for FASD in ad...
Article
Objective Alcohol use disorder (AUD) shows a high prevalence and often takes a severe and chronic course. However, the underlying mechanisms still need to be better understood. There is increasing evidence for a role of sex hormones in AUD and for the importance of sex-separated concepts in addiction research. Nevertheless, only few data give insig...
Article
Objective Binge drinking is a highly prevalent behavior in adolescents and young adults and a risk factor to develop alcohol use disorder. Body mass index (BMI) and blood levels of leptin peptide and its soluble receptor have been implicated in alcohol use disorder; however, their role in binge drinking remains to be investigated. Method We studie...
Article
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Here, we explore the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) in adolescence. We investigated associations between meconium ethyl glucoronide (EtG) and facial malformation. For 129 children (66/63 male/female; M = 13.3, SD = 0.32, 12–14 years), PAE was implemented by newborn meconium EtG and maternal self-reports during the third trimester. Cogni...
Article
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Directly measuring hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis function, an important player in affective disorders, is intensive and invasive. A crucial component of this system, the activity of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR), can be assessed ex vivo instead. Here, we investigated GR sensitivity in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) to...
Article
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Background Alcohol can be instrumentalized to achieve goals that would not be achievable, or only with considerably more work load, without the drug. While neurobiological mechanisms of alcohol instrumentalization are increasingly understood, little information is available for instrumentalization goals in controlled consumers and how these goals c...
Article
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Previously reported associations between second-to-fourth digit length ratio (2D:4D), a proxy for prenatal androgen load, and transgender identity have been inconsistent. The objectives of the present study were to provide additional original data and an updated meta-analysis concerning this association. In a study of 464 participants, we compared...
Article
Sphingolipids and enzymes of the sphingolipid rheostat determine synaptic appearance and signaling in the brain, but sphingolipid contribution to normal behavioral plasticity is little understood. Here we asked how the sphingolipid rheostat contributes to learning and memory of various dimensions. We investigated the role of these lipids in the mec...
Poster
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PRELIMINARY RESULTS Male depression is an attempt to stratify the heterogenous group of depressed patients based on a cluster of symptoms that are associated with suicide completion in community-dwelling populations. The use of cognitive phenomena, such as temporal discounting, as intermediate phenotypes can help us understand the underlying natur...
Poster
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PRELIMINARY RESULTS Depression is one of the largest contributors to the burden of disease worldwide and better understanding of the disorder is needed. One promising direction is the use cognitive phenomena, such as temporal discounting, as intermediate phenotypes revealing its underlying nature and acting as markers of therapeutic success. We...
Article
Background/aims: Opioid dependence is a severe disease which is associated with a high risk of relapse, even in cases of successful withdrawal therapy. Studies have shown alterations of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis in opioid-dependent patients, such as decreased testosterone serum levels in affected males. Sex hormones and the steroid 5...
Article
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Background Physical activity and a healthy body composition are said to reduce the risk of major depressive disorder. Nonetheless, deeper insight is needed into which specific forms of physical activity (and their relation to body composition) are effective in improving and preventing depressive symptoms.Methods We compared different self-reported...
Article
Calcium/Calmodulin-dependent kinase alpha (αCaMKII) has been shown to play an essential role in synaptic plasticity and in learning and memory in animal models. However, there is little evidence for an involvement in specific memories in humans. Here we tested the potential involvement of the αCaMKII coding gene CAMK2A in verbal logical memory in t...
Article
Objective: Alcohol dependence affects metabolic processes. Further research is needed to apply this knowledge clinically. In this study, possible differences in serum lipids and/or leptin activities between alcohol-dependent in-patients and healthy controls and possible associations with alcohol-related blood parameters and with prospective outcom...
Article
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Positive social interactions are crucial for human well-being. Elevated prenatal exposure to testosterone as indicated by a low second-to-fourth finger length ratio (2D:4D) relates to more aggressive/hostile behavior in men of low 2D:4D, especially in challenging situations. How much people enjoy interacting with others is determined by the persona...
Article
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Positive social interactions are crucial for human well-being. Elevated prenatal exposure to testosterone as indicated by a low second-to-fourth finger length ratio (2D:4D) relates to more aggressive/hostile behavior in men of low 2D:4D, especially in challenging situations. How much people enjoy interacting with others is determined by the persona...
Poster
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PRELIMINARY RESULTS: Hintergrund: Depressionen sind hoch prävalent und phänotypisch heterogen. Zur Optimierung der Versorgung ist ein besseres Verständnis der Erkrankung notwendig, da die heute verfügbaren diagnostischen Werkzeuge wichtige Symptome vernachlässigen und nicht ausreichen, um die phänotypische Vielfalt der Patienten zu erfassen. In uns...
Article
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Moderately sized, case-control studies have related alcohol dependence in middle-aged in-patients to lower second-to-fourth finger length ratio (2D:4D), a proxy for prenatal hyperandrogenization. As primary aim, we here intended to confirm that lower 2D:4D is also associated with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)-IV/-5 alc...
Article
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Human studies have reported inconsistent associations between the length ratio of the second finger to the fourth finger (2D:4D), which is a proxy for prenatal androgen load, and substance or computer use in adolescents and adults. This meta-analysis quantifies the magnitude of this relationship and investigates the roles of sex, definition of case...
Article
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Alpha-synuclein (SNCA) is a small membrane protein that plays an important role in neuro-psychiatric diseases. It is best known for its abnormal subcellular aggregation in Lewy bodies that serves as a hallmark of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Due to the high comorbidity of PD with depression, we investigated the role of SNCA in patients suffering from...
Article
Background Available predictors of hospital readmission following withdrawal in alcohol‐dependent patients are limited. However, such parameters are needed to optimize individualized treatment strategies. This study investigated whether crossed eye/hand laterality, eyedness, and handedness may predict outcomes in alcohol dependence. Method The pro...
Article
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Introduction: Prenatal androgen exposure has important organizing effects on brain development and therefore on future behavior. Previous research has shown, that the ratio between index finger (2D) and ring finger (4D) (2D:4D) could function as a marker of prenatal androgen effects, with a relatively shorter 2D indicating a higher prenatal androg...
Article
Background: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a highly prevalent and burdening mental illness. Approximately 30% of the major depressive episodes (MDE) are classified as therapy-refractory. Further knowledge of the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying MDD and predictive biomarkers are needed to improve treatment options. Methods: Serum lipi...
Article
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Background: The inclusion of internet gaming disorder (IGD) as a condition warranting more research in the DSM-5 has led to a rapid increase of research on addictive internet activities. Further evaluation of the criteria for IGD and social network disorder (SND) is needed. Objective: To assess the internal consistency, construct validity, retest-r...
Article
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By catalyzing the hydrolysis of sphingomyelin into ceramide, acid sphingomyelinase (ASM) changes the local composition of the plasma membrane with effects on receptor-mediated signaling. Altered enzyme activities have been noted in common human diseases, including alcohol dependence. However, the underlying mechanisms remain largely unresolved. Blo...
Article
Unfavourable intrauterine environmental factors increase the risk of delivery complications as well as postpartum developmental and behavioural problems in children and adolescents with ongoing effects into older age. Biomarker studies show that maternal stress and the use of alcohol and tobacco during pregnancy are associated with a higher intraut...
Article
Objective Addictive alcohol drinking, craving, and overeating share common etiopathological mechanisms. We investigated whether body mass index (BMI) and craving predict outcome of alcohol-dependent in-patients. Method The prospective study included 101 male and 72 female early-abstinent alcohol-dependent in-patients. Craving was quantified by Obs...
Article
Activation of mesolimbic mu-opioid receptors by their endogenous ligand, β-endorphin, can mediate the rewarding effects of alcohol. However, there is conflicting evidence on the relationship between the mu-opioid receptor (OPRM1) A118G single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and alcohol dependence risk. Preclinical evidence suggests that sex and sex h...
Article
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Suicide is a devastating public health issue that imposes severe psychological, social, and economic burdens not only for the individuals but also for their relatives, friends, clinicians, and the general public. Among the different suicidal behaviors, suicide completion is the worst and the most relevant outcome. The knowledge of biological etiopa...
Poster
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Attachment security is an important protective factor for children’s emotional development as the attachment relationship is one of the main developmental contexts for children’s emerging emotional competencies. Deficits in this domain are closely linked to the development of psychopathology. So far the influence of the postnatal environment on the...
Article
Aims: To compare religious denomination, religiosity, guilt, altruism and forgiveness between alcohol-dependent patients and healthy control subjects and to prospectively investigate their relationship to the disorder's 24-month course following in-patient withdrawal treatment. Method: This study in Franconia (a mainly Christian protestant regio...
Article
The second-to-forth digit length ratio (2D:4D) is considered to be a biomarker for intrauterine androgen levels. It is associated with adult and child mental health problems, primarily with behavioral symptoms and predominantly in males. Using a cross-sectional design, we examined whether 2D:4D was associated with conduct disorder (CD) symptoms in...
Article
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The second-to-fourth finger length ratio (2D:4D) is an indication of prenatal sex hormone exposure, and has sex-specifically been associated with several lethal illnesses including ischemic heart disease, diverse cancers, and suicide. Our primary aim was to verify that 2D:4D sex-specifically relates to life expectancy and suicide numbers on a natio...
Article
Background: Alcohol binge drinking behavior is an important public health issue. Causal rodent and human associational studies show that reinforcement of prenatal androgen signaling increases alcohol consumption in adulthood. However, the effects of prenatal androgen exposure on adult binge drinking patterns have not been investigated yet. Method...
Article
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Prenatal sex hormones exert organizational effects. It has been suggested that prenatal sex hormones affect adult morphological parameters, such as the finger length. Especially the second-to-fourth finger length (2D:4D) ratio has been implicated to be modified when exposed to higher androgen levels in utero. Here we show in a mouse model that expe...
Preprint
Activation of mesolimbic mu-opioid receptor by its endogenous ligand, β-endorphin, mediates part of the rewarding effects of alcohol, yet there is controversial evidence surrounding the relationship between the functional mu-opioid receptor gene ( OPRM1 ) A118G single nucleotide polymorphism and alcohol dependence risk. Some preclinical evidence su...
Article
Alcohol use disorders are major psychiatric disorders. Correlational studies in humans suggested organizational hormonal effects during embryonic development as a risk factor for adult alcohol dependence. Permanent changes can be induced by the activity of sex hormones, like testosterone. Here, we demonstrate a relationship between prenatal androge...
Article
Background: Relapse after detoxification treatment is a common problem in alcohol dependence. However, its prediction still lacks reliability. We here investigated whether the easily accessible clinical Cloninger and Lesch classifications predict alcohol-related hospital readmission following in-patient withdrawal treatment. Methods: In this bic...
Poster
Growing evidence highlights the importance of prenatal risk factors for maladaptive child development. The aim of this study was to assess long term effects of prenatal maternal depression and fetal alcohol exposure on child emotional competencies, attachment security and behavioral and emotional problems and to investigate developmental pathways c...
Article
Objective: Alcohol dependence is more prevalent in men than in women. The evidence for how prenatal and adult androgens influence alcohol dependence is limited. We investigated the effects of prenatal and adult androgen activity on alcohol dependence. Moreover, we studied how the behaviours of pregnant women affect their children's prenatal androg...
Article
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The disrupted-in-schizophrenia-1 (DISC1) gene is known for its role in the development of mental disorders. It is also involved in neurodevelopment, cognition, and memory. To investigate the association between DISC1 variants and brain morphology, we analyzed the influence of the three common non-synonymous polymorphisms in DISC1 on specific brain...
Article
Background: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a psychiatric disorder characterized by key symptoms that include depressed mood and a loss of interest and pleasure. A recently developed pathogenic model of MDD involves disturbed neurogenesis in the hippocampus, where the acid sphingomyelinase (ASM)/ceramide system plays an important role and is pr...
Article
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Although women attempt suicides equally or more often than men do, men are more likely to die of suicide than women (sex paradox of suicidal behavior). Furthermore, the male traits of aggression and impulsivity predict suicide completion. Here, we studied the second-to-fourth-finger length ratio (2D:4D), a proxy for prenatal androgen exposure, in 4...
Article
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A previous investigation from Korea indicated that religion might modulate gaming behavior (Kim and Kim in J Korean Acad Nurs 40:378-388, 2010). Our present study aimed to investigate whether a belief in God, practicing religious behavior and religious denomination affected gaming behavior. Data were derived from a Western cohort of young men (Coho...