Molecular Genetic Testing in Pain and Addiction: Facts, Fiction and Clinical Utility

Kenneth Blum, Mary Hauser, James Fratantonio, and Rajendra D. Badgaiyan
  • 1 Department of Psychiatry, McKnight Brain Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA
  • 2 Divisions of Addiction Services, Dominion Diagnostics, LLC, North Kingstown, RI, USA
  • 3 Divisions of Applied Clinical Research & Education, Dominion Diagnostics, LLC, North Kingstown, RI, USA
  • 4 Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota College of Medicine, Minneapolis, MN, USA


The Brain Reward Cascade (BRC) is an interaction of neurotransmitters and their respective genes to control the amount of dopamine released within the brain. Any variations within this pathway, whether genetic or environmental (epigenetic), may result in addictive behaviors as well as altered pain tolerance. While there are many studies claiming a genetic association with addiction and other behavioral infractions, defined as Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS), not all are scientifically accurate and in some case just wrong. Albeit our bias, we discuss herein the facts and fictions behind molecular genetic testing in RDS (including pain and addiction) and the significance behind the development of the Genetic Addiction Risk Score (GARSPREDX™), the first test to accurately predict one’s genetic risk for RDS.

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