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Kenneth Blum (born August 8, 1939) is a researcher on neuropsychopharmacology and genetics. He is known from his study on the genetics of alcoholism published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1990. He works in the fields of neuropsychiatry and genetics, nutritional genetics, and pharmacogenetics. Blum's research has been recognized through numerous awards.
Until 2008 he was Chief Scientific Officer of Salugen, Inc., a personalized health and wellness company in San Diego, California. In 1995 he retired as a full professor in the Department of Pharmacology, University of Texas, where he was also chief of the Division of Addictive Diseases, chief of the Division of Substance and Alcohol Misuse, and director of the Laboratory of Pharmacogenetics at the University of Texas Health Science Center (San Antonio, Texas). Currently he is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Scientific Officer of LifeGen Inc. (San Diego, California), a neutrigenomic evidence-based corporation.
Blum received his B.S. in pharmacy from Columbia University in 1961, his M.S. in medical science in 1965 from the New Jersey College of Medicine, and his Ph.D. in pharmacology in 1968 from the New York Medical College. Blum completed post-doctorate research in psychopharmacology at the Southwest Foundation for Research and Education where Irving Geller was his mentor. He also completed a fellowship in pharmacogenetics under Gerald McClearn at the University of Colorado College of Pharmacy (Boulder) in 1977.
Genetic research on addictions
Blum's most important work was a 1990 study he co-led with Ernest Noble, the former director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, that correlated the dopamine D2 Receptor Taq 1 allele with alcoholism. This study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Blum expanded his research of genes involved in brain reward circuitry. By the early 1980s there were many suggestions that alcoholism had genetic antecedents and a high heritability. This research stimulated further studies of gene associations. Though the press has called his finding the "alcoholic gene," Blum believed his work to be of broader scope, calling this gene a "reward gene" which covers other addictive behaviors including drug addiction, smoking, overeating, and pathological gambling. Later the concept of Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS) coined in 1996 by Blum as a new way to look at all addictive, obsessive and compulsive behaviors including substance and process addictions, personality and spectrum disorders.
- Blum, Kenneth; Noble, Ernest; Peter J. Sheridan; Anne Montgomery; Terry Ritchie; Pudur Jagadeeswaran; Harou Nogami; Arthur H. Briggs; Jay B. Cohn (April 18, 1990). "Allelic Association of Human Dopamine D2 Receptor Gene in Alcoholism". Journal of the American Medical Association. 263 (15): 2055–60. ISSN 1538-3598. PMID 1969501. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440150063027.
- Blum, Kenneth; Payne, James E (1991), Alcohol and the Addictive Brain, New York: The Free Press, ISBN 0-02-903701-8, retrieved 17 September 2010
- Blum, Kenneth; Cull, John G; Braverman, Eric R; Comings, David E (March–April 1996), "Reward Deficiency Syndrome", American Scientist, 84: 132–145, retrieved 17 September 2010
- Blum, Kenneth; Braverman, Eric R; Holder, Jay M; Lubar, Joel F; Monastra, Vincent J; Miller, David; Comings, David E (November 2000), "Reward Deficiency Syndrome: A Biogenetic Model for the Diagnosis and Treatment of impulsive, Addictive, and Compulsive Behaviors", Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 32 (Supplement): i–iv, 1–112, ISSN 0279-1072, PMID 11280926, doi:10.1080/02791072.2000.10736099
- "Kenneth Blum, PhD, Resigns from Salugen, Inc. As Chief Scientific Officer and Vice Chairman of The Board Of Directors", 24-7 Press, September 10, 2008, retrieved 17 September 2010
- "Reward deficiency syndrome: genetic aspects of behavioral disorders.". Prog Brain Res. 126: 325–41. 2000. PMID 11105655. doi:10.1016/S0079-6123(00)26022-6.