The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 19 No. 6 • July 2016


A recent paper (Blum, 2011) provides a very extensive overview of the “Reward Deficiency Syndrome” as well as describing the results of a study of the incidence of dopaminergic genes in two families with multiple addictions. A certain variation of the DRD2 gene (Taq1, also called TaqA1) was found in these families, an incidence of 100% in “Family A” (with N=32) and 47.8% in “Family B” (with N=23). As the authors explain, “[t]he DRD2 gene, and especially the Taq1 allele, has been associated with neuropsychiatric disorders in general, including alcoholism, other addictions (e.g. carbohydrate), and it also may be involved in co-morbid antisocial personality disorder symptoms...” and other conditions such as “attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or Tourette Syndrome and high novelty-seeking behavior.”

“Utilizing a Bayesian mathematical model, we have found that at least for carriers of the DRD2 A1 allele, the estimated predictive value [of having the reward deficiency syndrome as a result of having the gene] is 74%.” Meanwhile, Table 3 in the study (pg. 4437) shows the correlation of the reward deficiency syndrome and psychiatric disorders with DRD2, disorders* which include novelty or sensation seeking, pathological gambling, post-traumatic stress disorder excessive eating, extraversion and creativity, hypersexuality, and many others. The authors note that there is a “significantly higher frequency for the DRD2 Taq1A polymorphism among addicts (69.9%) compared to control subjects (42.6%)...”

* Though these conditions are called “disorders,” by the authors, some, such as creativity, may be beneficial when they are not associated with pathology.


Blum et al. Generational association studies of dopaminergic genes in reward deficiency syndrome (RDS) subjects: selecting appropriate phenotypes for reward dependence behaviors. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 8:4425-59 (2011)

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