RESEARCH

Blum Institute

Pioneering genetic innovation and research

Blum Institute

Pioneering genetic innovation and research 

50 Years Of Addiction Avoidance And Recovery Science

Dr. Blum’s lifetime dedication to the genetics of addiction recovery has placed him at the vanguard of both the academic development and practical application of science and solution. He is widely considered the father of behavioral genetics. He has been the recipient of multiple achievement awards, including Life-Time Achievement in Addiction Medicine (Holistic Institute on Addiction Studies); Marquis Who Who’s Life –Time Achievement Award, and Presidential Award for Scientific Excellence (National Council of Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counselors). He coined the term “Reward Deficiency Syndrome,“ which is now found in the Gates Scientific dictionary and SAGE Encyclopedia.

GARS®

Discovery of the first gene linked to addiction

The Genetic Addiction Risk Score (GARS®) is the innovation of Dr. Kenneth Blum. The science is derived from the early groundbreaking findings of Dr. Kenneth Blum and Dr. Ernest P. Noble (former director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism). The research was published in JAMA (1990), discussing the first association of the dopamine D2 receptor gene and severe alcoholism. This was the first ever confirmed gene in the field of Psychiatric Genetics. The importance of this discovery paved the way for subsequent gene variations involved in what has been defined as the Brain Reward Cascade (BRC).

Brain Reward Cascade
It is the interaction of many chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) in the BRC, that enables the release of the molecule dopamine at just the right amount to the reward site of the brain called the nucleus accumbens. While there are many interacting systems involved in this process, the following neurotransmitter pathways are required in this complicated process: 

50 YEARS OF ADDICTION AVOIDANCE AND RECOVERY SCIENCE

Dr. Blum’s lifetime dedication to the genetics of addiction recovery has placed him at the vanguard of both the academic development and practical application of science and solution. He is widely considered the father of behavioral genetics. He has been the recipient of multiple achievement awards, including Life-Time Achievement in Addiction Medicine (Holistic Institute on Addiction Studies); Marquis Who Who’s Life –Time Achievement Award, and Presidential Award for Scientific Excellence (National Council of Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counselors). He coined the term “Reward Deficiency Syndrome,“ which is now found in the Gates Scientific dictionary and SAGE Encyclopedia.

GARS®

restoreGen®

RDS

Clinical Trials

Clinical Studies

Publications

GARS®

Discovery of the first gene linked to addiction

The Genetic Addiction Risk Score (GARS®) is the innovation of Dr. Kenneth Blum. The science is derived from the early groundbreaking findings of Dr. Kenneth Blum and Dr. Ernest P. Noble (former director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism). The research was published in JAMA (1990), discussing the first association of the dopamine D2 receptor gene and severe alcoholism. This was the first ever confirmed gene in the field of Psychiatric Genetics. The importance of this discovery paved the way for subsequent gene variations involved in what has been defined as the Brain Reward Cascade (BRC).

Brain Reward Cascade
It is the interaction of many chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) in the BRC, that enables the release of the molecule dopamine at just the right amount to the reward site of the brain called the nucleus accumbens. While there are many interacting systems involved in this process, the following neurotransmitter pathways are required in this complicated process: 

restoreGen®(KB220)

Boosted Dopamine Function at the Reward Site of the Brain

KB220 is composed of precursor amino acids the building blocks of neurotransmitters and other ingredients that support neurotransmission. The most recent variant of KB220 includes the following ingredients: Thiamine, 15 mg (1033% of daily value); Vitamin B6, 10 mg (500%); Chromium poly nicotinate 200 mcg (166%); a fixed dose combination of amino acids and herbs called Synaptose. Synaptose contains DL-phenylalanine, L-tyrosine, Passion flower extract; L-glutamine; 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP); Thiamine hydrochloride; Pyroxidal-5-phosphate; Pyridoxine HCl and a composite containing Arabinogalactans, N-acetylglucosamine, Astragalus, Aloe vera, Frankincense resin, White pine bark extract, N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) and Rhodiola

Primarily KB220 relies on the benefits of the precursor aminio-acids and it behooves us to present bioavailability and elimination information. Parameters differ for transporting precursor amino-acids like L-glutamate and L-tryptophan across the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB), a low–capacity independent carrier system [2]. Certainly, non-polar compounds like 5–HTP will penetrate the BBB whereas polar compounds like serotonin will not be easily absorbed. Interestingly, stress increases the permeability of the BBB, so pertinent precursor amino acids like tyrosine and L-phenylalanine for the synthesis of brain dopamine would be favored. It is also important to recognize limitations and competitiveness regarding neutral amino acids penetrating the BBB.

RDS

“Behaviors such as eating, copulating, defending oneself or taking addictive drugs begin with a motivation to initiate the behavior. Both this motivational drive and the behaviors that follow are influenced by past and present experience with the reinforcing stimuli (such as drugs or energy-rich foods) that increase the likelihood and/or strength of the behavioral response (such as drug taking or overeating). At a cellular and circuit level, motivational drive is dependent on the concentration of extrasynaptic dopamine present in specific brain areas such as the striatum. Cues that predict a reinforcing stimulus also modulate extrasynaptic dopamine concentrations, energizing motivation. Repeated administration of the reinforcer (drugs, energy-rich foods) generates conditioned associations between the reinforcer and the predicting cues, which is accompanied by down-regulated dopaminergic response to other incentives and downregulated capacity for top-down self-regulation, facilitating the emergence of impulsive and compulsive responses to food or drug cues.

Thus, dopamine contributes to addiction and obesity through its differentiated roles in reinforcement, motivation and self-regulation, referred to here as the ‘dopamine motive system’, [AKA also RDS] which, if compromised, can result in increased, habitual and inflexible responding. Thus, interventions to re-balance the dopamine motive system might have therapeutic potential for obesity and addiction.” 

Volkow, N.D., Wise, R.A., & Baler, R. (2017). The dopamine motive system: implications for drug and food addiction. Nat Rev Neurosci, Nov 16;18(12):741-752.

Reward Deficiency Syndrome or RDS is brain disorder characterized by a clinically significant deficiency of the essential neurotransmitter–Dopamine in the brain’s Reward Center, specifically the midbrain and prefrontal cortex. It is primarily acquired genetically but can also result from prolonged stress. Dr Kenneth Blum, professor and renowned expert in neuroscience and psychopharmacology from the University of Texas and, the Western University Health Sciences Graduate School of Biosciences, and most recently the Chairman of Board & Chief Scientific Officer of Geneus Health, has been able to use this science and research to make remarkable breakthroughs in our understanding of Addictive Disease and Behavioral Medicine. 

 Why is dopamine so essential?
Dopamine mediates how we experience pleasure, reward, joy and contentment. Dopamine ascribes “salience” to behaviors directly connected to our species centered survival drive, e.g., eating, hydration and copulation, to name a few. Recent research shows that perhaps as many as 30% of the US population have a genetically acquired “dopamine deficiency” –and thus, are at increased “risk” for developing addictive disease, or other debilitating brain disorders including: depression, anxiety disorder, ADHD, stress related disorders. sexual compulsions, pathological gambling, hedonic overeating, obesity, and more.

 How do you know if you have RDS?
If you’ve inherited a number of gene variations for dopamine deficiency–and are exposed to a substance or engaged in a behavior that elevates your dopamine level, particularly during a time of stress or sadness, you will feel a lot better—at least for a little while. You may even conclude that you had found the solution to stress, boredom, bad feelings, bad days, and difficult people. Of course, the relief is only temporary, but learning how to change your mood artificially–if just for a little while, is a tell-tale sign of RDS. Self-medication with substances or behaviors is a big and very important step towards addictive disease.

The persistent use of drugs and/or alcohol may also create reward deficits in the brain. All drugs of abuse artificially spike the brain’s dopamine level which results in chemically induced “high” that far exceeds what one could attain naturally. But what goes up–must come down. Unlike natural rewards, after a drug or alcohol induced high, dopamine levels become deficit. So, the more someone uses a mood-altering substance or engages in an addictive behavior to feel better, the worse they actually feel– which is the neurobiological result. 

Normally, sustained abstinence is necessary before the individual’s brain can replenish dopamine levels and function properly. In fact for opioids it takes about three years to return to normal. But a deficit in dopamine is no small thing. It creates “Anhedonia”, or the inability to feel happy, contented and appreciate natural rewards and beauty. For many, abstinence alone may not be enough, depending on their circumstances– such as stress, poor social support, and numerous other social and environmental variants. As a result, relapse is more common than not.

RDS is an important advance in how we conceptualize and treat Substance Use Disorders, Depression, Anxiety, Stress disorders, Problems with Attention and Focus, Overeating, Obesity, Gaming to name a few. RDS has also opened the door for new and novel treatments by reframing the question much more broadly. Simply stated: What do all the disorders have in common? The answer is Dopamine Deficits in critical areas of the brain. Whereas traditional treatment modalities such as medication, psychotherapy, and social support, remain the mainstay for most people, they are by design, symptom reduction strategies. However, RDS has illuminated numerous new and novel treatment approaches such as precision brain gene variation matched neuronutrient pro-dopamine regulator therapy (restoreGen®). Many peer reviewed clinical trials over the past decade have produced statistically significant reduction of symptoms associated with RDS. But there is emerging evidence that over time, a permanent stabilization of dopamine reward can be attained. The genetic profile of the individual, which until now, has been unattainable for the general population, is paramount to understanding who will benefit from specific pharmacological treatment, and potentially achieve Dopamine Reward Stability.

This is where the patented GENETIC ADDICTION RISK SCORE (GARS®) test will have a major impact. Backed by nearly 40 years of research, development, Geneus Health has created GARS® test (a simple cheek cell swab) to help people understand their specific genetic profile and risk for RDS. Do Not Misunderstand the word “ADDICTION” in the GARS name. All the disorders under the RDS umbrella share common etiology (cause) and psychopathology (biological abnormalities).

Clinical Trials

In addition to developing new pharmacogenetic tests and compounds, we procure intellectual property protection for our innovative treatments. Our process includes acquiring Investigative New Drug (IND) authorizations from the FDA and submitting our proprietary solutions through independent studies and clinical trials until they are approved for deployment at our network of infusion clinics. We specialize in innovative and life-saving infusions for addiction recovery, mental health, and neurology. The Blum Institute research team has decades of experience in research and developing new compounds and medications for innovative treatment

1. Performing FDA-approved double-blind studies on recovery infusions

2. Performing FDA-approved double-blind studies on mental health infusions

3. Performing FDA-approved double-blind studies for neurological infusions

Clinical Studies

Study Overview

Treatment of substance abuse disorders continues to challenge clinicians and “cravings” for the abused substance are often impediments to sobriety. Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD) has been used in the past with claims of having anti-craving properties. Previous data from this clinic using a similar formulation of NAD support the use of NAD as a valid treatment for drug cravings. This pilot study retrospectively examined the anti-craving properties of NAD in a group of 60 patients. Additionally, patients were assessed on severity of cravings and relapse episodes at 12-20 months post treatment.

Publications

Review articles to learn more about the research and science of GARS® and RDS…

Treatment of substance abuse disorders continues to challenge clinicians and “cravings” for the abused substance are often impediments to sobriety. Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD) has been used in the past with claims of having anti-craving properties. Previous data from this clinic using a similar formulation of NAD support the use of NAD as a valid treatment for drug cravings. This pilot study retrospectively examined the anti-craving properties of NAD in a group of 60 patients. Additionally, patients were assessed on severity of cravings and relapse episodes at 12-20 months post treatment.

Genetic Addiction Risk Score (GARS): Molecular Neurogenetic Evidence for Predisposition to Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS)

Reward deficiency syndrome: a biogenetic model for the diagnosis and treatment of impulsive, addictive, and compulsive behaviors (SUD)

DNA based customized nutraceutical “gene therapy” utilizing a genoscore: a paradigm shift of a novel approach to the diagnosis, stratification, prognosis and treatment of inflammatory processes

restoreGen®(KB220)

Boosted Dopamine Function at the Reward Site of the Brain

KB220 is composed of precursor amino acids the building blocks of neurotransmitters and other ingredients that support neurotransmission. The most recent variant of KB220 includes the following ingredients: Thiamine, 15 mg (1033% of daily value); Vitamin B6, 10 mg (500%); Chromium poly nicotinate 200 mcg (166%); a fixed dose combination of amino acids and herbs called Synaptose. Synaptose contains DL-phenylalanine, L-tyrosine, Passion flower extract; L-glutamine; 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP); Thiamine hydrochloride; Pyroxidal-5-phosphate; Pyridoxine HCl and a composite containing Arabinogalactans, N-acetylglucosamine, Astragalus, Aloe vera, Frankincense resin, White pine bark extract, N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) and Rhodiola

Primarily KB220 relies on the benefits of the precursor aminio-acids and it behooves us to present bioavailability and elimination information. Parameters differ for transporting precursor amino-acids like L-glutamate and L-tryptophan across the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB), a low–capacity independent carrier system [2]. Certainly, non-polar compounds like 5–HTP will penetrate the BBB whereas polar compounds like serotonin will not be easily absorbed. Interestingly, stress increases the permeability of the BBB, so pertinent precursor amino acids like tyrosine and L-phenylalanine for the synthesis of brain dopamine would be favored. It is also important to recognize limitations and competitiveness regarding neutral amino acids penetrating the BBB.

Rewards Deficiency Syndrome

“Behaviors such as eating, copulating, defending oneself or taking addictive drugs begin with a motivation to initiate the behavior. Both this motivational drive and the behaviors that follow are influenced by past and present experience with the reinforcing stimuli (such as drugs or energy-rich foods) that increase the likelihood and/or strength of the behavioral response (such as drug taking or overeating). At a cellular and circuit level, motivational drive is dependent on the concentration of extrasynaptic dopamine present in specific brain areas such as the striatum. Cues that predict a reinforcing stimulus also modulate extrasynaptic dopamine concentrations, energizing motivation. Repeated administration of the reinforcer (drugs, energy-rich foods) generates conditioned associations between the reinforcer and the predicting cues, which is accompanied by down-regulated dopaminergic response to other incentives and downregulated capacity for top-down self-regulation, facilitating the emergence of impulsive and compulsive responses to food or drug cues.

Thus, dopamine contributes to addiction and obesity through its differentiated roles in reinforcement, motivation and self-regulation, referred to here as the ‘dopamine motive system’, [AKA also RDS] which, if compromised, can result in increased, habitual and inflexible responding. Thus, interventions to re-balance the dopamine motive system might have therapeutic potential for obesity and addiction.” 

Volkow, N.D., Wise, R.A., & Baler, R. (2017). The dopamine motive system: implications for drug and food addiction. Nat Rev Neurosci, Nov 16;18(12):741-752.

Reward Deficiency Syndrome or RDS is brain disorder characterized by a clinically significant deficiency of the essential neurotransmitter–Dopamine in the brain’s Reward Center, specifically the midbrain and prefrontal cortex. It is primarily acquired genetically but can also result from prolonged stress. Dr Kenneth Blum, professor and renowned expert in neuroscience and psychopharmacology from the University of Texas and, the Western University Health Sciences Graduate School of Biosciences, and most recently the Chairman of Board & Chief Scientific Officer of Geneus Health, has been able to use this science and research to make remarkable breakthroughs in our understanding of Addictive Disease and Behavioral Medicine. 

 Why is dopamine so essential?
Dopamine mediates how we experience pleasure, reward, joy and contentment. Dopamine ascribes “salience” to behaviors directly connected to our species centered survival drive, e.g., eating, hydration and copulation, to name a few. Recent research shows that perhaps as many as 30% of the US population have a genetically acquired “dopamine deficiency” –and thus, are at increased “risk” for developing addictive disease, or other debilitating brain disorders including: depression, anxiety disorder, ADHD, stress related disorders. sexual compulsions, pathological gambling, hedonic overeating, obesity, and more.

 How do you know if you have RDS?
If you’ve inherited a number of gene variations for dopamine deficiency–and are exposed to a substance or engaged in a behavior that elevates your dopamine level, particularly during a time of stress or sadness, you will feel a lot better—at least for a little while. You may even conclude that you had found the solution to stress, boredom, bad feelings, bad days, and difficult people. Of course, the relief is only temporary, but learning how to change your mood artificially–if just for a little while, is a tell-tale sign of RDS. Self-medication with substances or behaviors is a big and very important step towards addictive disease.

The persistent use of drugs and/or alcohol may also create reward deficits in the brain. All drugs of abuse artificially spike the brain’s dopamine level which results in chemically induced “high” that far exceeds what one could attain naturally. But what goes up–must come down. Unlike natural rewards, after a drug or alcohol induced high, dopamine levels become deficit. So, the more someone uses a mood-altering substance or engages in an addictive behavior to feel better, the worse they actually feel– which is the neurobiological result. 

Normally, sustained abstinence is necessary before the individual’s brain can replenish dopamine levels and function properly. In fact for opioids it takes about three years to return to normal. But a deficit in dopamine is no small thing. It creates “Anhedonia”, or the inability to feel happy, contented and appreciate natural rewards and beauty. For many, abstinence alone may not be enough, depending on their circumstances– such as stress, poor social support, and numerous other social and environmental variants. As a result, relapse is more common than not.

RDS is an important advance in how we conceptualize and treat Substance Use Disorders, Depression, Anxiety, Stress disorders, Problems with Attention and Focus, Overeating, Obesity, Gaming to name a few. RDS has also opened the door for new and novel treatments by reframing the question much more broadly. Simply stated: What do all the disorders have in common? The answer is Dopamine Deficits in critical areas of the brain. Whereas traditional treatment modalities such as medication, psychotherapy, and social support, remain the mainstay for most people, they are by design, symptom reduction strategies. However, RDS has illuminated numerous new and novel treatment approaches such as precision brain gene variation matched neuronutrient pro-dopamine regulator therapy (restoreGen®). Many peer reviewed clinical trials over the past decade have produced statistically significant reduction of symptoms associated with RDS. But there is emerging evidence that over time, a permanent stabilization of dopamine reward can be attained. The genetic profile of the individual, which until now, has been unattainable for the general population, is paramount to understanding who will benefit from specific pharmacological treatment, and potentially achieve Dopamine Reward Stability.

This is where the patented GENETIC ADDICTION RISK SCORE (GARS®) test will have a major impact. Backed by nearly 40 years of research, development, Geneus Health has created GARS® test (a simple cheek cell swab) to help people understand their specific genetic profile and risk for RDS. Do Not Misunderstand the word “ADDICTION” in the GARS name. All the disorders under the RDS umbrella share common etiology (cause) and psychopathology (biological abnormalities).

Clinical Trials

In addition to developing new pharmacogenetic tests and compounds, we procure intellectual property protection for our innovative treatments. Our process includes acquiring Investigative New Drug (IND) authorizations from the FDA and submitting our proprietary solutions through independent studies and clinical trials until they are approved for deployment at our network of infusion clinics. We specialize in innovative and life-saving infusions for addiction recovery, mental health, and neurology. The Blum Institute research team has decades of experience in research and developing new compounds and medications for innovative treatment

1. Performing FDA-approved double-blind studies on recovery infusions

2. Performing FDA-approved double-blind studies on mental health infusions

3. Performing FDA-approved double-blind studies for neurological infusions

Clinical Studies

Study Overview

Treatment of substance abuse disorders continues to challenge clinicians and “cravings” for the abused substance are often impediments to sobriety. Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD) has been used in the past with claims of having anti-craving properties. Previous data from this clinic using a similar formulation of NAD support the use of NAD as a valid treatment for drug cravings. This pilot study retrospectively examined the anti-craving properties of NAD in a group of 60 patients. Additionally, patients were assessed on severity of cravings and relapse episodes at 12-20 months post treatment.

Publications

Review articles to learn more about the research and science of GARS® and RDS…

Treatment of substance abuse disorders continues to challenge clinicians and “cravings” for the abused substance are often impediments to sobriety. Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD) has been used in the past with claims of having anti-craving properties. Previous data from this clinic using a similar formulation of NAD support the use of NAD as a valid treatment for drug cravings. This pilot study retrospectively examined the anti-craving properties of NAD in a group of 60 patients. Additionally, patients were assessed on severity of cravings and relapse episodes at 12-20 months post treatment.

Genetic Addiction Risk Score (GARS): Molecular Neurogenetic Evidence for Predisposition to Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS)

Reward deficiency syndrome: a biogenetic model for the diagnosis and treatment of impulsive, addictive, and compulsive behaviors

DNA based customized nutraceutical “gene therapy” utilizing a genoscore: a paradigm shift of a novel approach to the diagnosis, stratification, prognosis and treatment of inflammatory processes