In Search of Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS)-Free Controls: The “Holy Grail” in Genetic Addiction Risk Testing

Author(s): Kenneth Blum*, David Baron, Lisa Lott, Jessica V. Ponce, David Siwicki, Brent Boyett, Bruce Steinberg, Edward J. Modestino, Lyle Fried, Mary Hauser, Thomas Simpatico, Bill W. Downs, Thomas McLaughlin, Raju Hajela, Rajendra D. Badgaiyan

Journal Name: Current Psychopharmacology

Volume 9 , Issue 1 , 2020

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Graphical Abstract:


Background: The search for an accurate, gene-based test to identify heritable risk factors for Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS) was conducted based on hundreds of published studies about the role of dopamine in addictive behaviors, including risk for drug dependence and compulsive/impulsive behavior disorders. The term RDS was first coined by Blum’s group in 1995 to identify a group of behaviors with a common neurobiological mechanism associated with a polymorphic allelic propensity for hypodopaminergia.

Objectives: To outline the process used to select risk alleles of reward genes for the Genetic Addiction Risk Score (GARS) test. Consequently, to address the limitations caused by inconsistent results that occur in many case-control behavioral association studies. These limitations are perhaps due to the failure of investigators to adequately screen controls for drug and alcohol use disorder, and any of the many RDS behaviors, including nicotine dependence, obesity, pathological gambling, and internet gaming addiction.

Methods: Review of the literature related to the function of risk alleles of reward genes associated with hypodopaminergia relevant case-control association studies for the selection of alleles to be measured by the Genetic Addiction Risk Score (GARS) test.

Results: The prevalence of the DRD2 A1 allele in unscreened controls (33.3%), compared to “Super-Controls” [highly screened RDS controls (3.3%) in proband and family] is used to exemplify a possible solution.

Conclusion: Unlike One Gene-One Disease (OGOD), RDS is polygenetic, and very complex. In addition, any RDS-related behaviors must be eliminated from the control group in order to obtain the best possible statistical analysis instead of comparing the phenotype with diseaseridden controls.

Keywords: Behavioral genetic research, case controlled studies, genetic addiction association studies, genetic prevalence, hypodopaminergia, Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS), Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs), study controls, super controls.

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Article Details

Year: 2020
Published on: 24 April, 2020
Page: [7 - 21]
Pages: 15
DOI: 10.2174/2211556008666191111103152

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