Neurogenetic and epigenetic correlates of adolescent predisposition to and risk for addictive behaviors as a function of prefrontal cortex dysregulation

Kenneth Blum, Marcelo Febo, David E. Smith, A. Kenison Roy, Zsolt Demetrovics, Frans J. Cronjé, John Femino, Gozde Agan, James L. Fratantonio, Subhash C. Pandey, Rajendra D. Badgaiyan, Mark S. Gold

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


As addiction professionals, we are becoming increasingly concerned about preteenagers and young adults' involvement with substance abuse as a way of relieving stress and anger. The turbulent underdeveloped central nervous system, especially in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), provides impetus to not only continue important neuroimaging studies in both human and animal models, but also to encourage preventive measures and cautions embraced by governmental and social media outlets. It is well known that before people reach their 20s, PFC development is undergoing significant changes and, as such, hijacks appropriate decision making in this population. We are further proposing that early genetic testing for addiction risk alleles will offer important information that could potentially be utilized by their parents and caregivers prior to use of psychoactive drugs by these youth. Understandably, family history, parenting styles, and attachment may be modified by various reward genes, including the known bonding substances oxytocin/vasopressin, which effect dopaminergic function. Well-characterized neuroimaging studies continue to reflect region-specific differential responses to drugs and food (including other non-substance-addictive behaviors) via either "surfeit" or "deficit." With this in mind, we hereby propose a "reward deficiency solution system" that combines early genetic risk diagnosis, medical monitoring, and nutrigenomic dopamine agonist modalities to combat this significant global dilemma that is preventing our youth from leading normal productive lives, which will in turn make them happier.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-292
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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