Acta Scientific Neurology (ASNE) (ISSN: 2582-1121)

Commentary Volume 4 Issue 9

Neurobiology and Spirituality in Addiction Recovery

A Kenison Roy lll1, Abdalla Bowirrat2, David E Smith3, Eric R Braverman4,5, Rehan Jalali5, Rajendra D Badgaiyan6, David Baron7, Luis Llanos -Gomez5, Debmalya Barh12 and Kenneth Blum5,7,8-12*

1Department of Psychiatry, Tulane School of Medicine, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA., USA
2Department of Molecular Biology and Adelson School of Medicine, Ariel University, Ariel, Israel
3Institute of Health and Aging, University of California at San Francisco, CA, USA
4Path Foundation NY, New York City, NY, USA
5The Kenneth Blum Behavioral and Neurogenetic Institute (Division of iVitalize Inc.), Austin, TX., USA
6Department of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine Mt Sinai, New York, NY, USA and Department of Psychiatry, South Texas Veteran Health Care System, Audie L. Murphy Memorial VA Hospital, San Antonio, TX, Long School of Medicine, University of Texas Medical Center, San Antonio, TX, USA
7Western University Health Science Centers, Graduate College, Pompano, CA, USA
8Department of Nutrigenomics, Geneus Health, LLC (Division of iVitalize, Inc.) San Antonio, TX, USA
9Department of Psychiatry, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, USA
10Institute of Psychology, Eotvos Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary
11Department of Psychiatry, Wright University Boonshoft School of Medicine, Dayton, OH, USA
12Centre for Genomics and Applied Gene Technology, Institute of Integrative Omics and Applied Biotechnology, Nonakuri, Purba Medinipur, West Bengal, India

*Corresponding Author: Kenneth Blum, The Kenneth Blum Behavioral and Neurogenetic Institute (Division of iVitalize Inc.), Austin, TX., USA.

Received: August 13, 2021; Published: August 28, 2021


This commentary explores the neurobiology of spirituality and asks whether it is possible or desirable to apply genetic engineering to increase human spiritual and religious experience - (gene-spirituality) to deal better with the ever-increasing catastrophes that face humanity? Neurological connections between spirituality and reward genes, reward deficiencies (RDS) (hypodopaminergia), the mirror neuron system, and the default mode network are examined. Some interventions from addiction medicine that may be useful to enhance the neuro-spirituality connectome identified as a cornerstone of the Purpose and Meaning of Life as Reward (PMLR) are identified as reasonable targets for interventions to treat RDS and balance DMN activity.

Keywords: Purpose and Meaning of Life as Reward (PMLR)


  1. Zhou L and Foster JA. “Psychobiotics and the gut-brain axis: in the pursuit of happiness”. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment 11 (2015): 715-723.
  2. Neitzke AB. “On the genetic modification of psychology, personality, and behavior”. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 4 (2012): 307-343.
  3. Charlton BG. “Genospirituality: genetic engineering for spiritual and religious enhancement”. Medical Hypotheses6 (2008): 825-828.
  4. Tucker K., et al. “Kv1.3 gene-targeted deletion alters longevity and reduces adiposity by increasing locomotion and metabolism in melanocortin-4 receptor-null mice”. International Journal of Obesity (2005) 32.8 (2008): 1222-1232.
  5. Wells DA. “Plasticity-Led Evolution and Human Culture”. Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science (2021).
  6. Higashijima Y and Nangaku M. “The Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2020: genome editing tools and their immeasurable applications for humankind”. Kidney International6 (2020): 1367-1369.
  7. Asghari V., et al. “Modulation of intracellular cyclic AMP levels by different human dopamine D4 receptor variants”. Journal of Neurochemistry3 (1995): 1157-1165.
  8. Blum K., et al. “The Molecular Neurobiology of Twelve Steps Program and Fellowship: Connecting the Dots for Recovery”. Journal of Reward Deficiency Syndrome 1 (2015): 46-64.
  9. Hamer D. “The god gene”. New York: Doubleday (2004).
  10. Newberg A. “The brain and the biology of belief: An interview with Andrew Newberg, MD. Interview by Nancy Nachman-Hunt”. Advances in Mind-Body Medicine 1 (2009): 32-36.
  11. He Y., et al. “Candidate genes for novelty-seeking: a meta-analysis of association studies of DRD4 exon III and COMT Val158Met”. Psychiatric Genetics6 (2018): 97-109.
  12. Cohen MX., et al. “Connectivity-based segregation of the human striatum predicts personality characteristics”. Nature Neuroscience1 (2009): 32-34.
  13. Comings DE., et al. “A multivariate analysis of 59 candidate genes in personality traits: the temperament and character inventory”. Clinical Genetics5 (2000): 375-385.
  14. Nilsson KW., et al. “Genes encoding for AP-2beta and the Serotonin Transporter are associated with the Personality Character Spiritual Acceptance”. Neuroscience Letters 3 (2007): 233-237.
  15. Borg J., et al. “The serotonin system and spiritual experiences”. The American Journal of Psychiatry11 (2003): 1965-1969.
  16. Bachner-Melman R., et al. “AVPR1a and SLC6A4 gene polymorphisms are associated with creative dance performance”. PLoS Genetics3 (2005): e42.
  17. Schmidt SNL., et al. “The human mirror neuron system-A common neural basis for social cognition?” Psychophysiology (2021): e13781.
  18. Buccino G., et al. “The mirror neuron system and action recognition”. Brain Lang2 (2004): 370-376.
  19. Schmidt SNL., et al. “The human mirror neuron system-A common neural basis for social cognition?” Psychophysiology5 (2021): e13781.
  20. Hsiao FJ., et al. “Altered oscillation and synchronization of default-mode network activity in mild Alzheimer's disease compared to mild cognitive impairment: an electrophysiological study”. PLoS One7 (2013): e68792.
  21. Raichle ME. “The brain's default mode network”. Annual Review of Neuroscience 38 (2015): 433-447.
  22. Herculano-Houzel S. “The human brain in numbers: a linearly scaled-up primate brain”. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 3 (2009): 31.
  23. Corballis MC. “Wandering tales: evolutionary origins of mental time travel and language”. Frontiers in Psychology 4 (2013): 485.
  24. Schoenthaler SJ., et al. “NIDA-Drug Addiction Treatment Outcome Study (DATOS) Relapse as a Function of Spirituality/Religiosity”. Journal of Reward Deficiency Syndrome and Addiction Science 1 (2015): 36-45.
  25. DeGrazia D. “Ethical Reflections on Genetic Enhancement with the Aim of Enlarging Altruism”. Health Care Analyst 3 (2016): 180-195.
  26. Singh M. “The cultural evolution of shamanism”. Behavioral and Brain Sciences (2017): 1-83.
  27. Stokstad E and Vogel G. “Revelations about rhythm of life rewarded”. Science6359 (2017): 18.
  28. Oishi S and Schimmack U. “Culture and Well-Being: A New Inquiry Into the Psychological Wealth of Nations”. Perspectives on Psychological Science 4 (2010): 463-471.
  29. Galanter M. “Textbook of Addiction Medicine”. 6th ed (2020): 1101.
  30. Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketchum. The Spirituality of Imperfection. Bantam Books (1992).
  31. Kingsland James. Siddhartha's Brain: Harper Collins Publishers (2015).
  32. Kühn S and Gallinat J. “Common biology of craving across legal and illegal drugs - a quantitative meta-analysis of cue-reactivity brain response”. The European Journal of Neuroscience 7 (2011): 1318-1326.
  33. Tomasi D., et al. “Dopamine transporters in striatum correlate with deactivation in the default mode network during visuospatial attention”. PLoS One6 (2009): e6102.
  34. Blum K. “Reward Deficiency Syndrome”. In: Wenzel A, editor. The Sage Encyclopedia of Abnormal Clinical Psychology. Pensylvania: Sage Publications (2017).
  35. Gold MS., et al. “Neurological correlates of brain reward circuitry linked to opioid use disorder (OUD): Do homo sapiens acquire or have a reward deficiency syndrome?” Journal of the Neurological Sciences 418 (2020): 117137.
  36. Andrews-Hanna JR. “The brain's default network and its adaptive role in internal mentation”. Neuroscientist3 (2012): 251-270.
  37. Carhart-Harris RL., et al. “Neural correlates of the psychedelic state as determined by fMRI studies with psilocybin”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 6 (2012): 2138-2143.
  38. Raffone A., et al. “The exploration of meditation in the neuroscience of attention and consciousness”. Cognitive Processing1 (2010): 1-7.
  39. Rim JI., et al. “Current Understanding of Religion, Spirituality, and Their Neurobiological Correlates”. Harvard Review of Psychiatry5 (2019): 303-316.
  40. Blum K., et al. “Biotechnical development of genetic addiction risk score (GARS) and selective evidence for inclusion of polymorphic allelic risk in substance use disorder (SUD)”. Journal of Systems and Integrative Neuroscience 2 (2020).
  41. Blum K., et al. “Genospirituality: Our Beliefs, Our Genomes, and Addictions”. Journal of Addiction Research and Therapy 4 (2013): 162.
  42. Beraldo L., et al. “Spirituality, Religiosity and Addiction Recovery: Current Perspectives”. Current Drug Research Reviews1 (2019): 26-32.
  43. Wuyts EM., et al. “Between Pleasure and Pain: A Pilot Study on the Biological Mechanisms Associated With BDSM Interactions in Dominants and Submissives”. The Journal of Sexual Medicine4 (2020): 784-792.
  44. Blum K., et al. “Should We Embrace the Incorporation of Genetically Guided "Dopamine Homeostasis" in the Treatment of Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RSD) as a Frontline Therapeutic Modality?” Acta Scientific Neurology2 (2021): 17-24.
  45. Smith DE and Seymour RB. “Addiction medicine and the free clinic movement”. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 2 (1997): 155-160.


Citation: Kenneth Blum., et al. “Neurobiology and Spirituality in Addiction Recovery”. Acta Scientific Neurology 4.9 (2021): 64-71.


Copyright: © 2021 Kenneth Blum., et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Acceptance rate32%
Acceptance to publication20-30 days

Indexed In

News and Events

  • Certification for Review
    Acta Scientific certifies the Editors/reviewers for their review done towards the assigned articles of the respective journals.
  • Submission Timeline for Upcoming Issue
    The last date for submission of articles for regular Issues is May 30, 2024.
  • Publication Certificate
    Authors will be issued a "Publication Certificate" as a mark of appreciation for publishing their work.
  • Best Article of the Issue
    The Editors will elect one Best Article after each issue release. The authors of this article will be provided with a certificate of "Best Article of the Issue"
  • Welcoming Article Submission
    Acta Scientific delightfully welcomes active researchers for submission of articles towards the upcoming issue of respective journals.

Contact US