Kenneth Blum

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Kenneth Blum (born August 8, 1939) is a scientist who has studied neuropsychopharmacology and genetics. Until 1995 he was a professor of Pharmacology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Blum originated the term "reward deficiency syndrome" (RDS), a concept that spans a variety of addictive, obsessive, and compulsive behaviors. He holds multiple patents relating to genetic testing and treatment for RDS which have been licensed through various different corporations.

Kenneth Blum is listed by Quackwatch as a promoter of questionable health products.[1]

Academic background[edit]

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. He retired in 1995 from a position as full professor at the Department of Pharmacology, Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, University of Texas.

Genetic research on addictions[edit]

Blum collaborated on a study that found a correlation between an allele in the dopamine D2 Receptor and alcoholism in a post-mortem study of brain tissue from 35 alcoholics and 35 non-alcoholics.[2] 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.[3]

Reward deficiency syndrome[edit]

Blum originated the concept of reward deficiency syndrome (RDS) in 1996. The term has been applied to a wide variety of addictive, obsessive and compulsive behaviors including substance and process addictions, personality and spectrum disorders.[4][5] "Reward deficiency syndrome" is not a medically recognized disorder:[6] The diagnostic validity of RDS has never been recognized by the American Psychiatric Association in its diagnostic manual, the DSM.

Editorial work[edit]

Kenneth Blum is the founding president of United Scientific Group (USG).[7] USG is a publisher of open access journals including the Journal of Reward Deficiency Syndrome (JRDS), which lists Blum as Editor-in-chief.[8] Blum has also been editor-in-chief of OMICS Publication Group's Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy (JART) since 2013.[9] Much of the research relating to RDS has been published by Blum himself in JRDS and JART. USG and OMICS featured on Beall's list[10] and are widely regarded as predatory open-access publishers.[11]

Dietary supplements[edit]

Blum holds patents for the use of dietary supplements to treat "reward deficiency syndrome".[12][13][14] Blum licenses these patents through his company Synaptamine, Inc., which is incorporated in Austin, Texas.[15] Supplements marketed in this way include Synaptamine, SyntaptaGenX, and Synaptose. Synaptamine has been licensed to LaVita RDS, a company based in Lehi, Utah, of which Blum was the Chief Scientific Officer.[11] Synaptamine was subsequently marketed by Sanus Biotech, a company based in Austin, Texas. SynaptaGenX is licensed to NuPathways Inc., for whom Blum acts as Chief Neuroscience Advisor.[16] Blum has also marketed dietary supplements that claim to assist weight loss, including PhenCal (licensed to Weider Nutrition) and SyntaptaLean (licensed to Nature's Plus). In the past, Blum has sold a variety of supplements and oral sprays through a website called DocBlumInc.[17] Medics on the Quackwatch website have cautioned that Blum's supplements have no proven clinical utility.[6]

Genetic tests[edit]

Blum markets a genetic test, the Genetic Addiction Risk Score (GARS), through his company IGENE LLC in partnership with Dominion Diagnostics,[18][15][19] through LifeGen, Inc., where he is Chairman of the Board and Chief Scientific Officer,[20] and via Geneus Health for whom he also acts Chief Scientific Officer and Chairman.[21] It is claimed that GARS assesses the genetic predisposition toward RDS.[19] Doctors writing for Quackwatch have questioned the scientific credibility of the genetic tests that Blum markets.[6]

Commercial links[edit]

Blum is the owner of IGENE, LLC, and Synaptamine, Inc.[15] He served as the Chairman of the Board and Chief Scientific Officer of LifeGen Inc. (Frederick, MD), a nutrigenomics corporation.[20] Until 2008 he was Chief Scientific Officer of Salugen Inc. (San Diego, CA), another direct-to-consumer genetics testing company.[22] After Blum's departure, Salugen continued under the leadership of Brian Meshkin, latterly CEO of Proove Biosciences, until its demise a year later.[23] Blum is Scientific Director of the PATH foundation.[24] As of June 2018, Dr. Blum is Chief Scientific Officer and Chairman of Geneus Health LLC.[21] He is also listed as the Chief Scientific Officer of Dominion Diagnostics.[18] Both Geneus Health LLC and Dominion Diagnostics market genetic tests that purport to assess genetic predisposition toward addictive behavior. Since 2007 Dominion Diagnostics has paid more than $2 million in settlement of lawsuits that alleged fraudulent overbilling of Medicare and Medicaid.[25][26]

Notable publications[edit]

  • 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. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440150063027. ISSN 1538-3598. PMID 1969501.
  • 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; 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, doi:10.1080/02791072.2000.10736099, ISSN 0279-1072, PMID 11280926

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Promoters of Questionable Methods and/or Advice". Quackwatch. 20 May 2018. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  2. ^ 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. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440150063027. ISSN 1538-3598. PMID 1969501.
  3. ^ "Reward deficiency syndrome: genetic aspects of behavioral disorders". Prog Brain Res. 126: 325–41. 2000. doi:10.1016/S0079-6123(00)26022-6. PMID 11105655.
  4. ^ "When the Thrill is Gone: Reward Deficiency Syndrome".
  5. ^ "Reward Deficiency Syndrome".
  6. ^ a b c Barrett, Stephen; Hall, Harriet (24 November 2008). "Dubious Genetic Testing". Quackwatch. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  7. ^ "Management". United Scientific Group. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  8. ^ "Journal of Reward Deficiency Syndrome and Addiction Science". Journal of Reward Deficiency Syndrome and Addiction Science. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  9. ^ "Kenneth Blum Appointed as Editor-in-Chief of OMICS Group's Open-Access Medical Journal: Addiction Research & Therapy". PR Newswire. 14 Aug 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  10. ^ "Beall's List of Predatory Journals and Publishers". Beall's List. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  11. ^ a b "The Strange World of "Reward Deficiency Syndrome" (Part 3)". 17 August 2017. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  12. ^ "Allelic polygene diagnosis of reward deficiency syndrome and treatment". Google Patents. 29 April 1997. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  13. ^ "Diagnosis and treatment system for "reward deficiency syndrome" (RDS) and related behaviors". Google Patents. 4 August 1999. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  14. ^ "Anti-RDS compounds and method of manufacture and administration thereof to induce dopamine homeostatis". Google Patents. 12 August 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  15. ^ a b c "Dominion Diagnostics Chief Scientific Advisor Kenneth Blum, PhD Receives 2014 ASAM Medical-Scientific Program Committee Award for Best Scientific Abstract". PR Newswire. 22 April 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  16. ^ "SynaptaGenX: Addiction Recovery". SynaptaGenX. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  17. ^ "DocBlumInc.com". DocBlumInc. Archived from the original on 19 May 2003. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  18. ^ a b "Kenneth Blum, PhD". Dominion Diagnostics. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  19. ^ a b "Genetic Addiction Risk Score (GARS): Molecular Neurogenetic Evidence for Predisposition to Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS)". Dominion Diagnostics. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  20. ^ a b "Russell Armstrong and Crescent Financial Partners Retained by LifeGen, Inc: Patent-Holder for Neuroadaptogen Technology". Business Wire. 15 February 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  21. ^ a b "Kenneth Blum, B.Sc., M.Sc., PhD, DHL, Chief Scientific Officer & Chairman". Geneus Health. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  22. ^ "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
  23. ^ "The Salugen Story Reconstructed". Tales of Two Cities. 2 September 2012. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  24. ^ "Foundation Staff". PATH Foundation. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  25. ^ O'Brien, John (14 June 2007). "Business gives Vermont $1 million in Medicaid dispute". Legal NewsLine. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  26. ^ "Dominion Diagnostics pays $815,000 to the United States and State of Vermont to resolve allegations of False Claims Act violations". United States Department of Justice. 21 December 2017. Retrieved 23 June 2018.

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