Lucid Dreams are a form of dream life, during which the dreamer may be aware that he/she is dreaming, can stop/re-start the dreams, depending on the pleasantness or unpleasant nature of the dream, and experiences the dream as if he/she were fully awake. Depending on their content, they may be pleasant, un-pleasant or terrifying, at least in the context of patients, who also exhibit characteristics of Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS) and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
We present eight clinical cases, with known substance abuse, childhood abuse and diagnosed PTSD/RDS. The administration of a putative dopamine agonist, KB200Z™, was associated with the elimination of unpleasant and/or terrifying, lucid dreams in 87.5% of the cases presented, whereas one very heavy cocaine abuser showed a minimal response. These results required the continuous use of this nutraceutical. The lucid dreams themselves were distinguishable from typical, PTSD nightmares insofar as their content did not appear to reflect a symbolic rendition of an originally-experienced, historical trauma. Each of the cases was diagnosed with a form of RDS, i.e., ADHD, ADD, and/or Tourette’s syndrome. They all also suffered from some form of Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder (PTSD) and other psychiatric diagnoses as well.
The reduction or elimination of terrifying Lucid Dreams seemed to be dependent on KB220Z, whereby voluntary stopping of the agent results in reinstatement of the terrifying non-pleasant nature of the dreams. Following more required research on a much larger population we anticipate confirmation of these seemingly interesting observations. If these results in a small number of patients are indeed confirmed we may have found a frontline solution to a very perplexing and complicated symptom known as lucid dreams.
Putative natural dopamine agonist; KB200Z; Functional brain connectivity; Lucid dreams; Nightmares; PTSD
The connection between religion/spirituality and deviance, like substance abuse, was first made by Durkheim who defined socially expected behaviors as norms. He explained that deviance is due in large part to their absence (called anomie), and concluded that spirituality lowers deviance by preserving norms and social bonds. Impairments in brain reward circuitry, as observed in Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS), may also result in deviance and as such we wondered if stronger belief in spirituality practice and religious belief could lower relapse from drugs of abuse.
The NIDA Drug Addiction Treatment Outcome Study data set was used to examine post hoc relapse rates among 2,947 clients who were interviewed at 12 months after intake broken down by five spirituality measures.
Our main findings strongly indicate, that those with low spirituality have higher relapse rates and those with high spirituality have higher remission rates with crack use being the sole exception. We found significant differences in terms of cocaine, heroin, alcohol, and marijuana relapse as a function of strength of religious beliefs (x2 = 15.18, p = 0.028; logistic regression = 10.65, p = 0.006); frequency of attending religious services (x2 = 40.78, p < 0.0005; logistic regression = 30.45, p < 0.0005); frequency of reading religious books (x2 = 27.190, p < 0.0005; logistic regression = 17.31, p < 0.0005); frequency of watching religious programs (x2 = 19.02, p = 0.002; logistic regression = ns); and frequency of meditation/prayer (x2 = 11.33, p = 0.045; logistic regression = 9.650, p = 0.002). Across the five measures of spirituality, the spiritual participants reported between 7% and 21% less alcohol, cocaine, heroin, and marijuana use than the non-spiritual subjects. However, the crack users who reported that religion was not important reported significantly less crack use than the spiritual participants. The strongest association between remission and spirituality involves attending religious services weekly, the one marker of the five that involves the highest social interaction/social bonding consistent with Durkheim’s social bond theory.
Stronger spiritual/religious beliefs and practices are directly associated with remission from abused drugs except crack. Much like the value of having a sponsor, for clients who abuse drugs, regular spiritual practice, particularly weekly attendance at the religious services of their choice is associated with significantly higher remission. These results demonstrate the clinically significant role of spirituality and the social bonds it creates in drug treatment programs.
Relapse; Neurogentics; Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS); Spirituality; Genospirituality; Anomie; Social Bonds; Religion
The Brain Reward Cascade (BRC) is an interaction of neurotransmitters and their respective genes to control the amount of dopamine released within the brain. Any variations within this pathway, whether genetic or environmental (epigenetic), may result in addictive behaviors or RDS, which was coined to define addictive behaviors and their genetic components.
To carry out this review we searched a number of important databases including: Filtered: Cochrane Systematic reviews; DARE; Pubmed Central Clinical Quaries; National Guideline Clearinghouse and unfiltered resources: PsychINFO; ACP PIER; PsychSage; Pubmed/Medline. The major search terms included: dopamine agonist therapy for Addiction; dopamine agonist therapy for Reward dependence; dopamine antagonistic therapy for addiction; dopamine antagonistic therapy for reward dependence and neurogenetics of RDS.
While there are many studies claiming a genetic association with RDS behavior, not all are scientifically accurate.
Albeit our bias, this Clinical Pearl discusses the facts and fictions behind molecular genetic testing in RDS and the significance behind the development of the Genetic Addiction Risk Score (GARSPREDX™), the first test to accurately predict one’s genetic risk for RDS.
Reward Deficiency Syndrome; Brain Reward Cascade; DRD2; Gene variations; Genetic Addiction Risk Score
Lucid dreams are frequently pleasant and training techniques have been developed to teach dreamers to induce them. In addition, the induction of lucid dreams has also been used as a way to ameliorate nightmares. On the other hand, lucid dreams may be associated with psychiatric conditions, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Reward Deficiency Syndrome-associated diagnoses. In the latter conditions, lucid dreams can assume an unpleasant and frequently terrifying character.
We present two cases of dramatic alleviation of terrifying lucid dreams in patients with PTSD. In the first case study, a 51-year-old, obese woman, diagnosed with PTSD and depression, had attempted suicide and experienced terrifying lucid nightmares linked to sexual/physical abuse from early childhood by family members including her alcoholic father. Her vivid “bad dreams” remained refractory in spite of 6 months of treatment with Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and standard pharmaceutical agents which included prazosin, clonidie and Adderall. The second 39-year-old PTSD woman patient had also suffered from lucid nightmares.
The medication visit notes reveal changes in the frequency, intensity and nature of these dreams after the complex putative dopamine agonist KB220Z was added to the first patient’s regimen. The patient reported her first experience of an extended period of happy dreams. The second PTSD patient, who had suffered from lucid nightmares, was administered KB220Z to attenuate methadone withdrawal symptoms and incidentally reported dreams full of happiness and laughter.
These cases are discussed with reference to the known effects of KB220Z including enhanced dopamine homeostasis and functional connectivity of brain reward circuitry in rodents and humans. Their understanding awaits intensive investigation involving large-population, double-blinded studies.
putative complex dopamine agonist; KB220Z; parasomnia; functional brain connectivity; lucid nightmares; Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
The dopamine system has been implicated in both substance use disorder (SUD) and schizophrenia. A recent meta- analysis suggests that A1 allele of the DRD2 gene imposes genetic risk for SUD, especially alcoholism and has been implicated in Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS). We hypothesize that dopamine D2 receptor (DRD2) gene Taq1 A2 allele is associated with a subtype of non- SUD schizophrenics and as such may act as a putative protective agent against the development of addiction to alcohol or other drugs of abuse. Schizophrenics with SUD may be carriers of the DRD2 Taq1 A1 allele, and/or other RDS reward polymorphisms and have hypodopaminergic reward function. One plausible mechanism for alcohol seeking in schizophrenics with SUD, based on previous research, may be a deficiency of gamma type endorphins that has been linked to schizophrenic type psychosis.. We also propose that alcohol seeking behavior in schizophrenics, may serve as a physiological self-healing process linked to the increased function of the gamma endorphins, thereby reducing abnormal dopaminergic activity at the nucleus accumbens (NAc). These hypotheses warrant further investigation and cautious interpretation. We, therefore, encourage research involving neuroimaging, genome wide association studies (GWAS), and epigenetic investigation into the relationship between neurogenetics and systems biology to unravel the role of dopamine in psychiatric illness and SUD.
schizophrenia; substance related disorders; dopaminergic; reward deficiency syndrome (RDS); gamma –endorphins
This functional connectivity study depicts how acupoints ST 36 and SP 9 and their sham acupoints acutely act on blood glucose (GLU), core body temperature (CBT), hunger, and sensations pertaining to needling (De-qi) via the limbic system and dopamine (DA) to affect various brain areas in fasting, adult, and “overweight” Chinese males using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Functional connectivity (FC) analysis utilized the amygdala (AMY) and hypothalamus (HYP) as regions of interest (ROIs) in the discrete cosine transform and seed correlation analysis methods. There was a significant difference in the spatial patterns of the distinct brain regions between groups. Correlation results showed that increased HYP-hippocampus FC after ACU was positively correlated with ACU-induced change in CBT; increased HYP-putamen-insula FC after ACU was positively correlated with ACU-induced change in GLU; and increased HYP-anterior cingulate cortex FC after ACU was positively correlated with ACU-induced change in HUNGER suggesting that increased DA modulation during ACU was probably associated with increased poststimulation limbic system and spinothalamic tract connectivity. Decreased HYP-thalamus FC after ACU was negatively correlated or anticorrelated with ACU-induced change in HUNGER suggesting that increased DA modulation during ACU was possibly associated with decreased poststimulation limbic system and spinothalamic tract connectivity. No correlation was found for min SHAM. This was an important study in addressing acute acupuncture effects and neural pathways involving physiology and appetite regulation in overweight individuals.
There is a plethora of research indicating the successful treatment of opioid dependence with either buprenorphine alone or in combination with naloxone (Suboxone®). However, we encourage caution in long-term maintenance with these drugs, albeit, lack of any other FDA approved opioid maintenance compound to date. Our concern has been supported by severe withdrawal (even with tapering of the dosage of for example Suboxone® which is 40 times more potent than morphine) from low dose of buprenorphine (alone or with naloxone). In addition our findings of a long-term flat affect in chronic Suboxone® patients amongst other unwanted side effects including diversion and suicide attempts provides impetus to reconsider long-term utilization. However, it seems prudent to embrace genetic testing to reveal reward circuitry gene polymorphisms especially those related to dopaminergic pathways as well as opioid receptor(s) as a way of improving treatment outcomes. Understanding the interaction of reward circuitry involvement in buprenorphine effects and respective genotypes provide a novel framework to augment a patient's clinical experience and benefits during opioid replacement therapy.
Buprenorphine; Naloxone; Suboxone; Dopamine & Opioid polymorphic genes; Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS)
It is well-known that sleep has a vital function especially as it relates to prevention of substance-related disorders as discussed in the DSM-V. We are cognizant that certain dopaminergic gene polymorphisms have been associated with various sleep disorders. The importance of “normal dopamine homeostasis” is tantamount for quality of life especially for the recovering addict. Since it is now know that sleep per se has been linked with metabolic clearance of neurotoxins in the brain, it is parsonomiuos to encourage continued research in sleep science, which should ultimately result in attenuation of sleep deprivation especially associated with substance related disorders.
sleep; dopaminergic system; neurogenetics; metabolic clearance of neurotoxins; Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS)
Obesity presents a major health hazard of the 21st century. It promotes co-morbid diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, certain types of cancer, and osteoarthritis. Excessive energy intake, physical inactivity, and genetic susceptibility are main causal factors for obesity, while gene mutations, endocrine disorders, medication, or psychiatric illnesses may be underlying causes in some cases. The development and maintenance of obesity may involve central pathophysiological mechanisms such as impaired brain circuit regulation and neuroendocrine hormone dysfunction. Dieting and physical exercise offer the mainstays of obesity treatment, and anti-obesity drugs may be taken in conjunction to reduce appetite or fat absorption. Bariatric surgeries may be performed in overtly obese patients to lessen stomach volume and nutrient absorption, and induce faster satiety. This review provides a summary of literature on the pathophysiological studies of obesity and discusses relevant therapeutic strategies for managing obesity.
obesity; food addiction; neuroendocrinology; neuroimaging; reward-saliency; motivation-drive; learning/memory circuit; inhibitory control-emotional regulation-executive control; bariatric surgery; fecal microbiota transplantation
The purpose of this review is to familiarize readers with the role that addiction plays in the formation and treatment of obesity, type 2 diabetes and disorders of eating. We will outline several useful models that integrate metabolism, addiction, and human relationship adaptations to eating. A special effort will be made to demonstrate how the use of simple and straightforward nonlinear models can and are being used to improve our knowledge and treatment of patients suffering from nutritional pathology. Moving forward, the reader should be able to incorporate some of the findings in this review into their own practice, research, teaching efforts or other interests in the fields of nutrition, diabetes, and/or bariatric (weight) management.
obesity; food addiction; diabesity; type 2 diabetes; bariatrics; nutrition; nonlinear; IGS-IT (Information Gathering and Sharing-Information Technology); IGS-Flow Game; IGS-rooms
Neuroplastic changes in dorsal striatum participate in the transition from casual to habitual drug use and might play a critical role in the development of methamphetamine (METH) addiction. We examined the influence of METH self-administration on gene and protein expression that may form substrates for METH-induced neuronal plasticity in the dorsal striatum. Male Sprague-Dawley rats self-administered METH (0.1 mg/kg/injection, i.v.) or received yoked saline infusions during eight 15-h sessions and were euthanized 2 h, 24 h, or 1 month after cessation of METH exposure. Changes in gene and protein expression were assessed using microarray analysis, RT-PCR and Western blots. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) followed by PCR was used to examine epigenetic regulation of METH-induced transcription. METH self-administration caused increases in mRNA expression of the transcription factors, c-fos and fosb, the neurotrophic factor, Bdnf, and the synaptic protein, synaptophysin (Syp) in the dorsal striatum. METH also caused changes in ΔFosB, BDNF and TrkB protein levels, with increases after 2 and 24 h, but decreases after 1 month of drug abstinence. Importantly, ChIP-PCR showed that METH self-administration caused enrichment of phosphorylated CREB (pCREB), but not of histone H3 trimethylated at lysine 4 (H3K4me3), on promoters of c-fos, fosb, Bdnf and Syp at 2 h after cessation of drug intake. These findings show that METH-induced changes in gene expression are mediated, in part, by pCREB-dependent epigenetic phenomena. Thus, METH self-administration might trigger epigenetic changes that mediate alterations in expression of genes and proteins serving as substrates for addiction-related synaptic plasticity.
methamphetamine; self-administration; dorsal striatum; ΔFosB; BDNF; pCREB
This is the first quantitative analysis of data from urine drug tests for compliance to treatment medications and abstinence from drug abuse across “levels of care” in six eastern states of America. Comprehensive Analysis of Reported Drugs (CARD) data was used in this post-hoc retrospective observational study from 10,570 patients, filtered to include a total of 2,919 patients prescribed at least one treatment medication during 2010 and 2011. The first and last urine samples (5,838 specimens) were analyzed; compliance to treatment medications and abstinence from drugs of abuse supported treatment effectiveness for many. Compared to non-compliant patients, compliant patients were marginally less likely to abuse opioids, cannabinoids, and ethanol during treatment although more likely to abuse benzodiazepines. Almost 17% of the non-abstinent patients used benzodiazepines, 15% used opiates, and 10% used cocaine during treatment. Compliance was significantly higher in residential than in the non-residential treatment facilities. Independent of level of care, 67.2% of the patients (n = 1963; P<.001) had every treatment medication found in both first and last urine specimens (compliance). In addition, 39.2% of the patients (n = 1143; P<.001) had no substance of abuse detected in either the first or last urine samples (abstinence). Moreover, in 2010, 16.9% of the patients (n = 57) were abstinent at first but not at last urine (deteriorating abstinence), the percentage dropped to 13.3% (n = 174) in 2011; this improvement over years was statistically significant. A longitudinal analysis for abstinence and compliance was studied in a randomized subset from 2011, (n = 511) representing 17.5% of the total cohort. A statistically significant upward trend (p = 2.353×10−8) of abstinence rates as well as a similar but stronger trend for compliance ((p = 2.200×10−16) was found. Being cognizant of the trend toward drug urine testing being linked to medical necessity eliminating abusive screening, the interpretation of these valuable results require further intensive investigation.
Obesity as a result of overeating as well as a number of well described eating disorders has been accurately considered to be a world-wide epidemic. Recently a number of theories backed by a plethora of scientifically sound neurochemical and genetic studies provide strong evidence that food addiction is similar to psychoactive drug addiction. Our laboratory has published on the concept known as Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS) which is a genetic and epigenetic phenomena leading to impairment of the brain reward circuitry resulting in a hypo-dopaminergic function. RDS involves the interactions of powerful neurotransmitters and results in abnormal craving behavior. A number of important facts which could help translate to potential therapeutic targets espoused in this focused review include: (1) consumption of alcohol in large quantities or carbohydrates binging stimulates the brain’s production of and utilization of dopamine; (2) in the meso-limbic system the enkephalinergic neurons are in close proximity, to glucose receptors; (3) highly concentrated glucose activates the calcium channel to stimulate dopamine release from P12 cells; (4) a significant correlation between blood glucose and cerebrospinal fluid concentrations of homovanillic acid the dopamine metabolite; (5) 2-deoxyglucose (2DG), the glucose analog, in pharmacological doses is associated with enhanced dopamine turnover and causes acute glucoprivation. Evidence from animal studies and fMRI in humans support the hypothesis that multiple, but similar brain circuits are disrupted in obesity and drug dependence and for the most part, implicate the involvement of DA-modulated reward circuits in pathologic eating behaviors. Based on a consensus of neuroscience research treatment of both glucose and drug like cocaine, opiates should incorporate dopamine agonist therapy in contrast to current theories and practices that utilizes dopamine antagonistic therapy. Considering that up until now clinical utilization of powerful dopamine D2 agonists have failed due to chronic down regulation of D2 receptors newer targets based on novel less powerful D2 agonists that up-regulate D2 receptors seems prudent. We encourage new strategies targeted at improving DA function in the treatment and prevention of obesity a subtype of reward deficiency.
obesity; glucose craving; dopamine release; glucoprivation; neurogentics; reward deficiency syndrome
Background: Following the first association between the dopamine D2 receptor gene polymorphism and severe alcoholism, there has been an explosion of research reports in the psychiatric and behavioral addiction literature and neurogenetics. With this increased knowledge, the field has been rife with controversy. Moreover, with the advent of Whole Genome-Wide Studies (GWAS) and Whole Exome Sequencing (WES), along with Functional Genome Convergence, the multiple-candidate gene approach still has merit and is considered by many as the most prudent approach. However, it is the combination of these two approaches that will ultimately define real, genetic allelic relationships, in terms of both risk and etiology. Since 1996, our laboratory has coined the umbrella term Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS) to explain the common neurochemical and genetic mechanisms involved with both substance and non-substance, addictive behaviors. Methods: This is a selective review of peer-reviewed papers primary listed in Pubmed and Medline. Results: A review of the available evidence indicates the importance of dopaminergic pathways and resting-state, functional connectivity of brain reward circuits. Discussion: Importantly, the proposal is that the real phenotype is RDS and impairments in the brain’s reward cascade, either genetically or environmentally (epigenetically) induced, influence both substance and non-substance, addictive behaviors. Understanding shared common mechanisms will ultimately lead to better diagnosis, treatment and prevention of relapse. While, at this juncture, we cannot as yet state that we have “hatched the behavioral addiction egg”, we are beginning to ask the correct questions and through an intense global effort will hopefully find a way of “redeeming joy” and permitting homo sapiens live a life, free of addiction and pain.
neurogenetics; epigenetics; dopaminergic; Reward Deficiency Syndrome; dopamine agonist therapy
Understanding the role of neurotransmission in the prefrontal cortex and mesolimbic brain regions has become the subject of intensive neuroscience research worldwide. In the 1970s, our group provided evidence that rats exposed to darkness significantly augmented their alcohol intake. At that time, we proposed that melatonin was the culprit. At around the same time, our laboratory, amongst a few others, proposed that dopamine-adducts with acetaldehyde to induce alcohol intake both in rodents and in humans. While the work in these areas has declined considerably over the years, more recent scientifically sound studies continue to show the importance of these earlier controversial ideas involving alcohol abuse and alcoholism. A review of the literature has provided impetus to systematically access the newer genetic and molecular neurobiological findings relevant to the physiological and psychological motives for high alcohol consumption in animals and humans alike. Thus, we hypothesize that darkness-induced alcohol intake is linked not only to serotonergic-melatonin mechanisms, but also to dopaminergic regulation of brain mesolimbic pathways involving neuronal expression switching in response to long photoperiods affecting gene expression.
Photoperiod; alcohol intake; dopamine; reward pathway; serotonin and melatonin; nocturnal
Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is present in 8% to 12% of children, and 4% of adults worldwide. Children with ADHD can have learning impairments, poor self-esteem, social dysfunction, and an increased risk of substance abuse, including cigarette smoking. Overall, the rate of treatment with medication for patients with ADHD has been increasing since 2008, with > 2 million children now being treated with stimulants. The rise of adolescent prescription ADHD medication abuse has occurred along with a concomitant increase of stimulant medication availability. Of adults presenting with a substance use disorder (SUD), 20% to 30% have concurrent ADHD, and 20% to 40% of adults with ADHD have a history of SUD. Following a brief review of the etiology of ADHD, its diagnosis and treatment, we focus on the benefits of early and appropriate testing for a predisposition to ADHD. We suggest that by genotyping patients for a number of known, associated dopaminergic polymorphisms, especially at an early age, misdiagnoses and/or over-diagnosis can be reduced. Ethical and legal issues of early genotyping are considered. As many as 30% of individuals with ADHD are estimated to either have secondary side-effects or are not responsive to stimulant medication. We also consider the benefits of non-stimulant medication and alternative treatment modalities, which include diet, herbal medications, iron supplementation, and neurofeedback. With the goals of improving treatment of patients with ADHD and SUD prevention, we encourage further work in both genetic diagnosis and novel treatment approaches.
genetics; attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder; diagnosis; treatment; legal aspects of testing
The nucleus accumbens, a site within the ventral striatum, plays a prominent role in mediating the reinforcing effects of drugs of abuse, food, sex, and other addictions. Indeed, it is generally believed that this structure mandates motivated behaviors such as eating, drinking, and sexual activity, which are elicited by natural rewards and other strong incentive stimuli. This article focuses on sex addiction, but we hypothesize that there is a common underlying mechanism of action for the powerful effects that all addictions have on human motivation. That is, biological drives may have common molecular genetic antecedents, which if impaired, lead to aberrant behaviors. Based on abundant scientific support, we further hypothesize that dopaminergic genes, and possibly other candidate neurotransmitter-related gene polymorphisms, affect both hedonic and anhedonic behavioral outcomes. Genotyping studies already have linked gene polymorphic associations with alcohol and drug addictions and obesity, and we anticipate that future genotyping studies of sex addicts will provide evidence for polymorphic associations with specific clustering of sexual typologies based on clinical instrument assessments. We recommend that scientists and clinicians embark on research coupling the use of neuroimaging tools with dopaminergic agonistic agents to target specific gene polymorphisms systematically for normalizing hyper- or hypo-sexual behaviors.
dopamine; mesolimbic systems; neurogenetics; reward deficiency syndrome (RDS); sexual addiction
Prader–Willi syndrome (PWS) is a genetic imprinting disorder characterized mainly by hyperphagia and early childhood obesity. Previous functional neuroimaging studies used visual stimuli to examine abnormal activities in the eating-related neural circuitry of patients with PWS. It was found that patients with PWS exhibited both excessive hunger and hyperphagia consistently, even in situations without any food stimulation. In the present study, we employed resting-state functional MRI techniques to investigate abnormal brain networks related to eating disorders in children with PWS. First, we applied amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation analysis to define the regions of interest that showed significant alterations in resting-state brain activity levels in patients compared with their sibling control group. We then applied a functional connectivity (FC) analysis to these regions of interest in order to characterize interactions among the brain regions. Our results demonstrated that patients with PWS showed decreased FC strength in the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC)/inferior parietal lobe (IPL), MPFC/precuneus, IPL/precuneus and IPL/hippocampus in the default mode network; decreased FC strength in the pre-/postcentral gyri and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC)/orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) in the motor sensory network and prefrontal cortex network, respectively; and increased FC strength in the anterior cingulate cortex/insula, ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC)/OFC and DLPFC/VLPFC in the core network and prefrontal cortex network, respectively. These findings indicate that there are FC alterations among the brain regions implicated in eating as well as rewarding, even during the resting state, which may provide further evidence supporting the use of PWS as a model to study obesity and to provide information on potential neural targets for the medical treatment of overeating.
Prader; Willi syndrome; eating disorder; obesity; amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation; resting-state networks; functional MRI
We have published extensively on the neurogenetics of brain reward systems with reference to the genes related to dopaminergic function in particular. In 1996, we coined “Reward Deficiency Syndrome” (RDS), to portray behaviors found to have gene-based association with hypodopaminergic function. RDS as a useful concept has been embraced in many subsequent studies, to increase our understanding of Substance Use Disorder (SUD), addictions, and other obsessive, compulsive, and impulsive behaviors. Interestingly, albeit others, in one published study, we were able to describe lifetime RDS behaviors in a recovering addict (17 years sober) blindly by assessing resultant Genetic Addiction Risk Score (GARS™) data only. We hypothesize that genetic testing at an early age may be an effective preventive strategy to reduce or eliminate pathological substance and behavioral seeking activity. Here, we consider a select number of genes, their polymorphisms, and associated risks for RDS whereby, utilizing GWAS, there is evidence for convergence to reward candidate genes. The evidence presented serves as a plausible brain-print providing relevant genetic information that will reinforce targeted therapies, to improve recovery and prevent relapse on an individualized basis. The primary driver of RDS is a hypodopaminergic trait (genes) as well as epigenetic states (methylation and deacetylation on chromatin structure). We now have entered a new era in addiction medicine that embraces the neuroscience of addiction and RDS as a pathological condition in brain reward circuitry that calls for appropriate evidence-based therapy and early genetic diagnosis and that requires further intensive investigation.
Genetic Addiction Risk Score (GARS)™; Polymorphisms; brain reward circuitry; Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS); Neurogenetics
Both caloric restriction and overeating have been shown to affect neural processes associated with reinforcement. Both preclinical and some clinical studies have provided evidence that food restriction may increase reward sensitivity, and while there are mixed findings regarding the effects of overeating on reward sensitivity, there is strong evidence linking this behavior with changes in reward-related brain regions. Evidence of these changes comes in part from findings that show that such eating patterns are associated with increased drug use. The data discussed here regarding the differential effects of various eating patterns on reward systems may be particularly relevant to the aging population, as this population has been shown to exhibit altered reward sensitivity and decreased caloric consumption. Moreover, members of this population appear to be increasingly affected by the current obesity epidemic. Food, like alcohol or drugs, can stimulate its own consumption and produce similar neurochemical changes in the brain. Age-related loss of appetite, decreased eating, and caloric restriction are hypothesized to be associated with changes in the prevalence of substance misuse, abuse, and dependence seen in this cohort.
aging; caloric restriction; overeating; obesity; reward
The role of systemic autoimmunity in human traumatic brain injury (TBI) and other forms of brain injuries is recognized but not well understood. In this study, a systematic investigation was performed to identify serum autoantibody responses to brain-specific proteins after TBI in humans. TBI autoantibodies showed predominant immunoreactivity against a cluster of bands from 38–50 kDa on human brain immunoblots, which were identified as GFAP and GFAP breakdown products. GFAP autoantibody levels increased by 7 days after injury, and were of the IgG subtype predominantly. Results from in vitro tests and rat TBI experiments also indicated that calpain was responsible for removing the amino and carboxyl termini of GFAP to yield a 38 kDa fragment. Additionally, TBI autoantibody staining co-localized with GFAP in injured rat brain and in primary rat astrocytes. These results suggest that GFAP breakdown products persist within degenerating astrocytes in the brain. Anti-GFAP autoantibody also can enter living astroglia cells in culture and its presence appears to compromise glial cell health. TBI patients showed an average 3.77 fold increase in anti-GFAP autoantibody levels from early (0–1 days) to late (7–10 days) times post injury. Changes in autoantibody levels were negatively correlated with outcome as measured by GOS-E score at 6 months, suggesting that TBI patients with greater anti-GFAP immune-responses had worse outcomes. Due to the long lasting nature of IgG, a test to detect anti-GFAP autoantibodies is likely to prolong the temporal window for assessment of brain damage in human patients.
The prevalence of substance abuse and other psychiatric disorders among physicians is not well-established. We determined differences in lifetime substance use, and abuse/dependence as well as other psychiatric disorders, comparing physicians undergoing monitoring with a general population that had sought treatment for substance use.
Participants were 99 physicians referred to a Physician's Health Program (PHP) due to suspected impairment, who were administered the Computerized Diagnostic Interview Schedule Version IV (CDIS-IV) to assess the presence of psychiatric disorders. Referred physicians were compared to an age, gender, and education status-matched comparison group from National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) Wave 1, in a 1:1 ratio.
While referred physicians did not differ from their counterparts on lifetime use of alcohol, opiates, or sedatives, they did have significantly higher conditional odds of meeting criteria for alcohol, opiate, and sedative DSM-IV abuse/dependence disorders. Physicians referred to the PHP had significantly lower odds of obsessive compulsive disorder, major depression, and specific phobia compared to their counterparts.
Physicians referred to a PHP have significantly higher odds of abuse/dependence disorders for cannabinoids, and cocaine/crack, compared to a matched general population sample that had ever sought treatment for substance use, even though physicians were less likely to report use of those substances. Although the rate of alcohol use was similar between the two populations, physicians had higher odds of abuse/dependence for opiates, sedatives, and alcohol. More research is needed to understand patterns of use, abuse/dependence and psychiatric morbidity among physicians.
Physician impairment; psychopathology; substance abuse; epidemiology; MDs; drug abuse
obesity; appetite suppressants; food addiction; palatable food; animal models