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1.  Hypothesizing that brain reward circuitry genes are genetic antecedents of pain sensitivity and critical diagnostic and pharmacogenomic treatment targets for chronic pain conditions 
Medical hypotheses  2008;72(1):14-22.
While it is well established that the principal ascending pathways for pain originate in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord and in the medulla, the control and sensitivity to pain may reside in additional neurological loci, especially in the mesolimbic system of the brain (i.e., a reward center), and a number of genes and associated polymorphisms may indeed impact pain tolerance and or sensitivity. It is hypothesized that these polymorphisms associate with a predisposition to intolerance or tolerance to pain. It is further hypothesized that identification of certain gene polymorphisms provides a unique therapeutic target to assist in the treatment of pain. It is hereby proposed that pharmacogenetic testing of certain candidate genes (i.e., mu receptors, PENK etc.) will result in pharmacogenomic solutions personalized to the individual patient, with potential improvement in clinical outcomes.
PMCID: PMC4098664  PMID: 18951726
2.  Nutrigenomic targeting of carbohydrate craving behavior: Can we manage obesity and aberrant craving behaviors with neurochemical pathway manipulation by Immunological Compatible Substances (nutrients) using a Genetic Positioning System (GPS) Map? 
Medical hypotheses  2009;73(3):427-434.
Genetic mediated physiological processes that rely on both pharmacological and nutritional principles hold great promise for the successful therapeutic targeting of reduced carbohydrate craving, body-friendly fat loss, healthy body recomposition, and overall wellness. By integrating an assembly of scientific knowledge on inheritable characteristics and environmental mediators of gene expression, we review the relationship of genes, hormones, neurotransmitters, and nutrients as they correct unwanted weight gain coupled with unhappiness. In contrast to a simple one-locus, one-mechanism focus on pharmaceuticals alone, we hypothesize that the use of nutrigenomic treatment targeting multi-physiological neurological, immunological, and metabolic pathways will enable clinicians to intercede in the process of lipogenesis by promoting lipolysis while attenuating aberrant glucose cravings. In turn, this approach will enhance wellness in a safe and predictable manner through the use of a Genetic Positioning System (GPS) Map. The GPS Map, while presently incomplete, ultimately will serve not only as a blueprint for personalized medicine in the treatment of obesity, but also for the development of strategies for reducing many harmful addictive behaviors and promoting optimal health by using substances compatible with the body’s immune system.
PMCID: PMC3758908  PMID: 19450935
3.  Can the chronic administration of the combination of buprenorphine and naloxone block dopaminergic activity causing anti-reward and relapse potential? 
Molecular neurobiology  2011;44(3):250-268.
Opiate addiction is associated with many adverse health and social harms, fatal overdose, infectious disease transmission, elevated health care costs, public disorder, and crime. Although community-based addiction treatment programs continue to reduce the harms of opiate addiction with narcotic substitution therapy such as methadone maintenance, there remains a need to find a substance that not only blocks opiate-type receptors (mu, delta, etc.) but also provides agonistic activity; hence the impetus arose for the development of a combination of narcotic antagonism and mu receptor agonist therapy. After three decades of extensive research the federal Drug Abuse Treatment Act 2000 (DATA) opened a window of opportunity for patients with addiction disorders by providing increased access to options for treatment. DATA allows physicians who complete a brief specialty-training course to become certified to prescribe buprenorphine and buprenorphine/naloxone (Subutex, Suboxone) for treatment of patients with opioid dependence. Clinical studies indicate buprenorphine maintenance is as effective as methadone maintenance in retaining patients in substance abuse treatment and in reducing illicit opioid use. With that stated, we must consider the long-term benefits or potential toxicity attributed to Subutex or Suboxone. We describe a mechanism whereby chronic blockade of opiate receptors, in spite of only partial opiate agonist action, may ultimately block dopaminergic activity causing anti-reward and relapse potential. While the direct comparison is not as yet available, toxicity to buprenorphine can be found in the scientific literature. In considering our cautionary note in this commentary, we are cognizant that to date this is what we have available, and until such a time when the real magic bullet is discovered, we will have to endure. However, more than anything else this commentary should at least encourage the development of thoughtful new strategies to target the specific brain regions responsible for relapse prevention.
PMCID: PMC3682495  PMID: 21948099
4.  Neuropsychopharmacology and Neurogenetic Aspects of Executive Functioning: Should Reward Gene Polymorphisms Constitute a Diagnostic Tool to Identify Individuals at Risk for Impaired Judgment? 
Molecular neurobiology  2012;45(2):298-313.
Executive functions are processes that act in harmony to control behaviors necessary for maintaining focus and achieving outcomes. Executive dysfunction in neuropsychiatric disorders is attributed to structural or functional pathology of brain networks involving prefrontal cortex (PFC) and its connections with other brain regions. The PFC receives innervations from different neurons associated with a number of neurotransmitters, especially dopamine (DA). Here we review findings on the contribution of PFC DA to higher-order cognitive and emotional behaviors. We suggest examination of multifactorial interactions of an individual’s genetic history, along with environmental risk factors, can assist in the characterization of executive functioning for that individual. Based upon the results of genetic studies we also propose genetic mapping as a probable diagnostic tool serving as a therapeutic adjunct for augmenting executive functioning capabilities. We conclude that preservation of the neurological underpinnings of executive functions requires the integrity of complex neural systems including the influence of specific genes and associated polymorphisms to provide adequate neurotransmission.
PMCID: PMC3681950  PMID: 22371275
Executive functions; dopamine; prefrontal cortex; genetics; Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS)
5.  Neurogentics of Dopaminergic Receptor Super-sensitivity in Activation of Brain Reward Circuitry and Relapse: Proposing “Deprivation-Amplification Relapse Therapy” (DART) 
Postgraduate medicine  2009;121(6):176-196.
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).”
PMCID: PMC3656125  PMID: 19940429
6.  Neuro-psychopharmacogenetics and Neurological Antecedents of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Unlocking the Mysteries of Resilience and Vulnerability 
Current Neuropharmacology  2010;8(4):335-358.
Background and Hypothesis:
Although the biological underpinnings of immediate and protracted trauma-related responses are extremely complex, 40 years of research on humans and other mammals have demonstrated that trauma (particularly trauma early in the life cycle) has long-term effects on neurochemical responses to stressful events. These effects include the magnitude of the catecholamine response and the duration and extent of the cortisol response. In addition, a number of other biological systems are involved, including mesolimbic brain structures and various neurotransmitters. An understanding of the many genetic and environmental interactions contributing to stress-related responses will provide a diagnostic and treatment map, which will illuminate the vulnerability and resilience of individuals to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Proposal and Conclusions:
We propose that successful treatment of PTSD will involve preliminary genetic testing for specific polymorphisms. Early detection is especially important, because early treatment can improve outcome. When genetic testing reveals deficiencies, vulnerable individuals can be recommended for treatment with “body friendly” pharmacologic substances and/or nutrients. Results of our research suggest the following genes should be tested: serotoninergic, dopaminergic (DRD2, DAT, DBH), glucocorticoid, GABAergic (GABRB), apolipoprotein systems (APOE2), brain-derived neurotrophic factor, Monamine B, CNR1, Myo6, CRF-1 and CRF-2 receptors, and neuropeptide Y (NPY). Treatment in part should be developed that would up-regulate the expression of these genes to bring about a feeling of well being as well as a reduction in the frequency and intensity of the symptoms of PTSD.
PMCID: PMC3080591  PMID: 21629442
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); genes and environment; neurotransmitters; Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS).
7.  Test of variables of attention (TOVA) as a predictor of early attention complaints, an antecedent to dementia 
The goal of this study was to determine if impairments detected by the test of variables of attention (TOVA) may be used to predict early attention complaints and memory impairments accurately in a clinical setting. We performed a statistical analysis of outcomes in a patient population screened for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or attention complaints, processing errors as measured by TOVA and the Wechsler Memory Scale (WMS-III) results. Attention deficit disorder (ADD) checklists, constructed using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th Edition criteria, which were completed by patients at PATH Medical, revealed that 72.8% of the patients had more than one attention complaint out of a total of 16 complaints, and 41.5% had more than five complaints. For the 128 males with a significant number of ADD complaints, individuals whose scores were significantly deviant or borderline (SDB) on TOVA, had a significantly greater number of attention complaints compared with normals for omissions (P < 0.02), response time (P < 0.015), and variability (P < 0.005), but not commissions (P > 0.50). For males, the mean scores for auditory, visual, immediate, and working memory scores as measured by the WMS-III were significantly greater for normals versus SDBs on the TOVA subtest, ie, omission (P < 0.01) and response time (P < 0.05), but not variability or commissions. The means for auditory, visual, and immediate memory scores were significantly greater for normals versus SDBs for variability (P < 0.045) only. In females, the mean scores for visual and working memory scores were significantly greater for normals versus SDBs for omissions (P < 0.025). The number of SDB TOVA quarters was a significant predictor for “impaired” or “normal” group membership for visual memory (P < 0.015), but not for the other three WMS-III components. For males, the partial correlation between the number of attention complaints and the number of SDB TOVA quarters was also significant (r = 0.251, P < 0.005). For the 152 females with a significant number of attention complaints, no significant differences between SDBs and normals were observed (P > 0.15). This is the first report, to our knowledge, which provides evidence that TOVA is an accurate predictor of early attention complaints and memory impairments in a clinical setting. This finding is more robust for males than for females between the ages of 40 and 90 years.
PMCID: PMC2987500  PMID: 21127685
attention complaints; dementia; TOVA; Wechsler Memory Scale
8.  Healing enhancement of chronic venous stasis ulcers utilizing H-WAVE® device therapy: a case series 
Cases Journal  2010;3:54.
Approximately 15% (more than 2 million individuals, based on these estimates) of all people with diabetes will develop a lower-extremity ulcer during the course of the disease. Ultimately, between 14% and 20% of patients with lower-extremity diabetic ulcers will require amputation of the affected limb. Analysis of the 1995 Medicare claims revealed that lower-extremity ulcer care accounted for $1.45 billion in Medicare costs. Therapies that promote rapid and complete healing and reduce the need for expensive surgical procedures would impact these costs substantially. One such example is the electrotherapeutic modality utilizing the H-Wave® device therapy and program.
It has been recently shown in acute animal experiments that the H-Wave® device stimulation induces a nitric oxide-dependent increase in microcirculation of the rat Cremaster skeletal muscle. Moreover, chronic H-wave® device stimulation of rat hind limbs not only increases blood flow but induces measured angiogenesis. Coupling these findings strongly suggests that H-Wave® device stimulation promotes rapid and complete healing without need of expensive surgical procedures.
Case presentation
We decided to do a preliminary evaluation of the H-Wave® device therapy and program in three seriously afflicted diabetic patients. Patient 1 had chronic venous stasis for 6 years. Patient 2 had chronic recurrent leg ulcerations. Patient 3 had a chronic venous stasis ulcer for 2 years. All were dispensed a home H-Wave® unit. Patient 1 had no other treatment, patient 2 had H-Wave® therapy along with traditional compressive therapy, and patient 3 had no other therapy.
For patient 1, following treatment the ulcer completely healed with the H-Wave® device and program after 3 months. For patient 2, by one month complete ulcer closure occurred. Patient 3 had a completely healed ulcer after 9 months.
While most diabetic ulcers can be treated successfully on an outpatient basis, a significant proportion will persist and become infected. Based on this preliminary case series investigation we found that three patients prescribed H-Wave® home treatment demonstrate accelerated healing with excellent results. While these results are encouraging, additional large scale investigation is warranted before any interpretation is given to these interesting outcomes.
PMCID: PMC2831833  PMID: 20181141
9.  Repetitive H-Wave® device stimulation and program induces significant increases in the range of motion of post operative rotator cuff reconstruction in a double-blinded randomized placebo controlled human study 
Albeit other prospective randomized controlled clinical trials on H-Wave Device Stimulation (HWDS), this is the first randomized double-blind Placebo controlled prospective study that assessed the effects of HWDS on range of motion and strength testing in patients who underwent rotator cuff reconstruction.
Twenty-two patients were randomly assigned into one of two groups: 1) H-Wave device stimulation (HWDS); 2) Sham-Placebo Device (PLACEBO). All groups received the same postoperative dressing and the same device treatment instructions. Group I was given HWDS which they were to utilize for one hour twice a day for 90 days postoperatively. Group II was given the same instructions with a Placebo device (PLACEBO). Range of motion was assessed by using one-way ANOVA with a Duncan Multiple Range Test for differences between the groups preoperatively, 45 days postoperatively, and 90 days postoperatively by using an active/passive scale for five basic ranges of motions: Forward Elevation, External Rotation (arm at side), External Rotation (arm at 90 degrees abduction), Internal Rotation (arm at side), and Internal Rotation (arm at 90 degrees abduction). The study also evaluated postoperative changes in strength by using the Medical Research Council (MRC) grade assessed strength testing.
Patients who received HWDS compared to PLACEBO demonstrated, on average, significantly improved range of motion. Results confirm a significant difference for external rotation at 45 and 90 days postoperatively; active range at 45 days postoperatively (p = 0.007), active at 90 days postoperatively (p = 0.007). Internal rotation also demonstrated significant improvement compared to PLACEBO at 45 and 90 days postoperatively; active range at 45 days postoperatively (p = 0.007), and active range at 90 days postoperatively (p = 0.006). There was no significant difference between the two groups for strength testing.
HWDS compared to PLACEBO induces a significant increase in range of motion in positive management of rotator cuff reconstruction, supporting other previous research on HWDS and improvement in function. Interpretation of this preliminary investigation while suggestive of significant increases in Range of Motion of Post -Operative Rotator Cuff Reconstruction, warrants further confirmation in a larger double-blinded sham controlled randomized study.
PMCID: PMC2777146  PMID: 19874593
10.  Age-related increases in parathyroid hormone may be antecedent to both osteoporosis and dementia 
Numerous studies have reported that age-induced increased parathyroid hormone plasma levels are associated with cognitive decline and dementia. Little is known about the correlation that may exist between neurological processing speed, cognition and bone density in cases of hyperparathyroidism. Thus, we decided to determine if parathyroid hormone levels correlate to processing speed and/or bone density.
The recruited subjects that met the inclusion criteria (n = 92, age-matched, age 18-90 years, mean = 58.85, SD = 15.47) were evaluated for plasma parathyroid hormone levels and these levels were statistically correlated with event-related P300 potentials. Groups were compared for age, bone density and P300 latency. One-tailed tests were used to ascertain the statistical significance of the correlations. The study groups were categorized and analyzed for differences of parathyroid hormone levels: parathyroid hormone levels <30 (n = 30, mean = 22.7 ± 5.6 SD) and PTH levels >30 (n = 62, mean = 62.4 ± 28.3 SD, p ≤ 02).
Patients with parathyroid hormone levels <30 showed statistically significantly less P300 latency (P300 = 332.7 ± 4.8 SE) relative to those with parathyroid hormone levels >30, which demonstrated greater P300 latency (P300 = 345.7 ± 3.6 SE, p = .02). Participants with parathyroid hormone values <30 (n = 26) were found to have statistically significantly higher bone density (M = -1.25 ± .31 SE) than those with parathyroid hormone values >30 (n = 48, M = -1.85 ± .19 SE, p = .04).
Our findings of a statistically lower bone density and prolonged P300 in patients with high parathyroid hormone levels may suggest that increased parathyroid hormone levels coupled with prolonged P300 latency may become putative biological markers of both dementia and osteoporosis and warrant intensive investigation.
PMCID: PMC2768728  PMID: 19825157
11.  Plasma growth hormones, P300 event-related potential and test of variables of attention (TOVA) are important neuroendocrinological predictors of early cognitive decline in a clinical setting: Evidence supported by structural equation modeling (SEM) parameter estimates 
Age  2007;29(2-3):55-67.
A review of the literature in both animals and humans reveals that changes in sex hormone have often been associated with changes in behavioral and mental abilities. Previously published research from our laboratory, and others, provides strong evidence that P300 (latency) event-related potential (ERP), a marker of neuronal processing speed, is an accurate predictor of early memory impairment in both males and females across a wide age range. It is our hypothesis, given the vast literature on the subject, that coupling growth hormones (insulin-like growth factor-I, (IGF-I) and insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3 (IGF-BP3)), P300 event-related potential and test of variables of attention (TOVA) are important neuroendocrinological predictors of early cognitive decline in a clinical setting. To support this hypothesis, we utilized structural equation modeling (SEM) parameter estimates to determine the relationship between aging and memory, as mediated by growth hormone (GH) levels (indirectly measured through the insulin-like growth factor system), P300 latency and TOVA, putative neurocognitive predictors tested in this study. An SEM was developed hypothesizing a causal directive path, leading from age to memory, mediated by IGF-1 and IGF-BP3, P300 latency (speed), and TOVA decrements. An increase in age was accompanied by a decrease in IGF-1 and IGF-BP3, an increase in P300 latency, a prolongation in TOVA response time, and a decrease in memory functioning. Moreover, independent of age, decreases in IGF-1 and IGF-BP3, were accompanied by increases in P300 latency, and were accompanied by increases in TOVA response time. Finally, increases in P300 latency were accompanied by decreased memory function, both directly and indirectly through mediation of TOVA response time. In summary, this is the first report utilizing SEM to reveal the finding that aging affects memory function negatively through mediation of decreased IGF-1 and IGF-BP3, and increased P300 latency (delayed attention and processing speed).
PMCID: PMC2267660  PMID: 19424831
Structural equation modeling (SEM); P300 latency; TOVA;  IGF-1; IGF-BP3; Age and memory

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