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
Purpose. To evaluate the normal aging effects on trabecular meshwork (TM) parameters using Fourier domain anterior segment optical coherence tomography (ASOCT) images. Patients and Methods. One eye from 45 participants with open angles was imaged. Two independent readers measured TM area, TM length, and area and length of the TM interface shadow from 3 age groups (18–40, 41–60, and 61–80). Measurements were compared using stepwise regression analysis. Results. The average TM parameters were 0.0487 (±0.0092) mm2 for TM area, 0.5502 (±0.1033) mm for TM length, 0.1623 (±0.341) mm2 for TM interface shadow area, and 0.7755 (±0.1574) mm for TM interface shadow length. Interobserver reproducibility coefficients ranged from 0.45 (TM length) to 0.82 (TM area). TM area and length were not correlated with age. While the TM interface shadow length did not correlate with age, the TM interface shadow area increased with age. Race, sex, intraocular pressure, and gonioscopy score were not correlated with any TM parameters. Conclusion. Although the TM measurements were not correlated with age, the TM interface shadow area increased with age. Further study is required to determine whether there is any relationship between the age-related ASOCT findings of the TM interface shadow area and physiologic function.
Background and Hypothesis
It is well known that after prolonged abstinence, individuals who imbibe or use their drug of choice experience a powerful euphoria that precipitates serious relapse. While a biological explanation for this conundrum has remained elusive, we hypothesize that this clinically observed “super sensitivity” might be tied to genetic dopaminergic polymorphisms. Another therapeutic conundrum relates to the paradoxical finding that the dopaminergic agonist bromocriptine induces stronger activation of brain reward circuitry in individuals who carry the DRD2 A1 allele compared to DRD2 A2 allele carriers. Based upon the fact that carriers of the A1 allele relative to the A2 allele of the DRD2 gene have significantly lower D2 receptor density, a reduced sensitivity to dopamine agonist activity would be expected in the former. Thus, it is perplexing that with low D2 density there is an increase in reward sensitivity with the dopamine agonist bromocriptine. Moreover, under chronic or long-term therapy, the potential proliferation of D2 receptors with bromocriptine has been shown in vitro. This seems to lead to a positive outcome and significantly better treatment compliance only in A1 carriers.
Proposal and Conclusion
We propose that low D2 receptor density and polymorphisms of the D2 gene are associated with risk for relapse of substance abuse including alcohol dependence, heroin craving, cocaine dependence, methamphetamine abuse, nicotine sensitization, and glucose craving. With this in mind, we suggest a putative physiological mechanism that may help to explain the enhanced sensitivity following intense acute dopaminergic D2 receptor activation: “denervation supersensitivity.” Thus, the administration of dopamine D2 agonists would target D2 sensitization and attenuate relapse, especially in D2 receptor A1 allele carriers. This hypothesized mechanism is supported by clinical trials utilizing the amino-acid neurotransmitter precursors, enkephalinase and catechol-O-methyl-transferase (COMT) enzyme inhibition, which have resulted in attenuated relapse rates in Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS) probands. Future warranted translational research with positive outcome showing prevented or lower relapse in RDS will ultimately support the proposed concept, which we term “Deprivation-Amplification Relapse Therapy (DART).”
In an attempt to resolve controversy regarding the causal contributions of mesolimbic dopamine (DA) systems to reward, we evaluate the three main competing explanatory categories: “liking,” “learning,” and “wanting” . That is, DA may mediate (a) the hedonic impact of reward (liking), (b) learned predictions about rewarding effects (learning), or (c) the pursuit of rewards by attributing incentive salience to reward-related stimuli (wanting). We evaluate these hypotheses, especially as they relate to the Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS), and we find that the incentive salience or “wanting” hypothesis of DA function is supported by a majority of the evidence. Neuroimaging studies have shown that drugs of abuse, palatable foods, and anticipated behaviors such as sex and gaming affect brain regions involving reward circuitry, and may not be unidirectional. Drugs of abuse enhance DA signaling and sensitize mesolimbic mechanisms that evolved to attribute incentive salience to rewards. Addictive drugs have in common that they are voluntarily self-administered, they enhance (directly or indirectly) dopaminergic synaptic function in the nucleus accumbens, and they stimulate the functioning of brain reward circuitry (producing the “high” that drug users seek). Although originally believed simply to encode the set point of hedonic tone, these circuits now are believed to be functionally more complex, also encoding attention, reward expectancy, disconfirmation of reward expectancy, and incentive motivation. Elevated stress levels, together with polymorphisms of dopaminergic genes and other neurotransmitter genetic variants, may have a cumulative effect on vulnerability to addiction. The RDS model of etiology holds very well for a variety of chemical and behavioral addictions.
Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS); neuroimaging; dopamine; “wanting” and “liking”
Traditional fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) measurement is too slow (>18 hr) for timely swimmer warnings.
Assess relationship of rapid indicator methods (qPCR) to illness at a marine-beach impacted by urban-runoff.
We measured baseline and two-week health in 9525 individuals visiting Doheny Beach 2007-08. Illness rates were compared (swimmers vs. non-swimmers). FIB measured by traditional (Enterococcus spp. by EPA Method 1600 or Enterolert™, fecal coliforms, total coliforms) and three rapid qPCR assays for Enterococcus spp. (Taqman, Scorpion-1, Scorpion-2) were compared to health. Primary bacterial source was a creek flowing untreated into ocean; the creek did not reach the ocean when a sand berm formed. This provided a natural experiment for examining FIB-health relationships under varying conditions.
We observed significant increases in diarrhea (OR1.90, 95% CI 1.29-2.80 for swallowing water) and other outcomes in swimmers compared to non-swimmers. Exposure (body immersion, head immersion, swallowed water) was associated with increasing risk of gastrointestinal illness (GI). Daily GI incidence patterns were different: swimmers (2-day peak ) and non-swimmers (no peak). With berm-open, we observed associations between GI and traditional and rapid methods for Enterococcus; fewer associations occurred when berm status was not considered.
We found increased risk of GI at this urban-runoff beach. When FIB source flowed freely (berm-open), several traditional and rapid indicators were related to illness. When FIB source was weak (berm-closed) fewer illness-associations were seen. These different relationships under different conditions at a single beach demonstrate the difficulties using these indicators to predict health risk.
Gastrointestinal illness; recreational water quality; diarrhea; indicator organisms; qPCR
Over the past three decades obesity has become a major public health crisis in the United States. The prevalence of obesity in the United States and in other parts of the World has led to the new word, globesity, now being used to describe the problem. As a result of this increased emphasis on understanding the causes and consequences of obesity, novel theories have stimulated new research aimed to prevent, intervene with, and ameliorate the effects and reduce the incidence and medical consequences of globesity. One theory that has gained popularity in recent years, which we described and analyzed in our previous paper Neurobiology of Food Addiction, is based on the idea that excessive intake of highly-palatable foods shares similarities with the effects on brain and behavior that are seen with some drugs of abuse. While this theory is not new, empirically-based translational research has only recently provided strong support for this hypothesis. In this article, we review the present state of the science in this area and describe a variety of newer clinical and preclinical works that shed light on innovative and interesting overlaps between excessive palatable food intake and drug use.
Addiction; Dopamine; Food intake; Obesity; Overeating
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects nearly 10% of children in the United States, and the prevalence of this disorder has increased steadily over the past decades. The cause of ADHD is unknown, although recent studies suggest that it may be associated with a disruption in dopamine signaling whereby dopamine D2 receptors are reduced in reward-related brain regions. This same pattern of reduced dopamine-mediated signaling is observed in various reward-deficiency syndromes associated with food or drug addiction, as well as in obesity. While genetic mechanisms are likely contributory to cases of ADHD, the marked frequency of the disorder suggests that other factors are involved in the etiology. In this article, we revisit the hypothesis that excessive sugar intake may have an underlying role in ADHD. We review preclinical and clinical data suggesting overlaps among ADHD, sugar and drug addiction, and obesity. Further, we present the hypothesis that the chronic effects of excessive sugar intake may lead to alterations in mesolimbic dopamine signaling, which could contribute to the symptoms associated with ADHD. We recommend further studies to investigate the possible relationship between chronic sugar intake and ADHD.
ADHD; sucrose; fructose; high-fructose corn syrup; reward-deficiency syndrome; dopamine; D2 receptor; obesity
Now after many years of successful bariatric (weight-loss) surgeries directed at the obesity epidemic clinicians are reporting that some patients are replacing compulsive overeating with newly acquired compulsive disorders such as alcoholism, gambling, drugs, and other addictions like compulsive shopping and exercise. This review article explores evidence from psychiatric genetic animal and human studies that link compulsive overeating and other compulsive disorders to explain the phenomenon of addiction transfer. Possibly due to neurochemical similarities, overeating and obesity may act as protective factors reducing drug reward and addictive behaviors. In animal models of addiction withdrawal from sugar induces imbalances in the neurotransmitters, acetylcholine and dopamine, similar to opiate withdrawal. Many human neuroimaging studies have supported the concept of linking food craving to drug craving behavior. Previously our laboratory coined the term Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS) for common genetic determinants in predicting addictive disorders and reported that the predictive value for future RDS behaviors in subjects carrying the DRD2 Taq A1 allele was 74%. While poly genes play a role in RDS, we have also inferred that disruptions in dopamine function may predispose certain individuals to addictive behaviors and obesity. It is now known that family history of alcoholism is a significant obesity risk factor. Therefore, we hypothesize here that RDS is the root cause of substituting food addiction for other dependencies and potentially explains this recently described Phenomenon (addiction transfer) common after bariatric surgery.
Bariatric surgery; Addiction transfer; Cross tolerance; Reward Deficiency Syndrome; Dopamine; Reward genes