Genetic Marker - Reward Deficiency Syndrome

David Longley David at longley.demon.co.uk
Sat May 6 22:40:09 EST 1995


In article <3oh41l$d0t at news4.primenet.com>
           thielbl at primenet.com "Brian Thiel/Lois Henry-Thiel" writes:

> Following is the abstract of a 4-hour presentation recently given by
> Dr. Kenneth Blum of San Antonio, TX.  Frankly, no abstract could do
> justice to the prodigious scope of the lecture.  Already his thesis
> has provoked plenty of scholarly controversy. 
> 
> REWARD DEFICIENCY SYNDROME:
> ELECTRO-PHYSIOLOGICAL AND BIOGENETIC EVIDENCE
> Kenneth Blum, Ph.D.
<snip>

Research on the monoamines is now well into its 4th decade, and the hedonic
theory of DA in its 3rd. Frankly it takes little scientific insight to  say
what is said in this abstract given the *enormous* amount  of  research  on
the monoamines (I understand that at one time the  Cambridge  undergraduate
psychology degree was nicknamed 'the dopamine degree').

However, still after over 30 years research we are no clearer as to what the
different subsystems of the catecholamine systems are (if they can in fact 
be functionally differentiated) doing.

At one point, preferrred status is given to 4 transmitters (of the potential
hundreds!), one of them being GABA...I recall a well known researcher in the
late 70s responding to the 'theories'  that GABA was basic to the anxiolytic
effects of benzodiazepines, by pointing out that in fact 40% of the brain is 
GABAergic!!.

My purpose here is not to 'throw wet blankets', but to alert those who may
not know of the *enormous* wealth of research in this domain (try doing an
Index Medicus or PsycLit search on 'Dopamine'), that it is  very  easy  to
come up with statements such as Blum's.....what is really needed  is  some
fine grain work at the physical level to elucidate what the catecholamines
(and indoleamines) are doing, how they do it and so on. That such function
will be genetically variant  should come as much surprise as the fact that
height and intelligence is.

PS. This point is  *exactly* the one which I tried to make in response to
    questions about the difference between psychobiology &  neuroscience.
    Those working in neuroscience are slowly putting the jig-saw together
    & probably feel quite irked by the psycho-biologists who jump up with
    premature all  singing/dancing-integrative  theories,  which are to a 
    great extent entirely dependent, but  inaccurate  pastiches of  their
    hard work. Anyone who has worked on the monoamines  knows  that  they 
    end up having to know almost everything there is to  know  about  the
    brain to begin to understand anything about what they are up to- that
    should ring warning bells. 
--
David Longley



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