People often dispute whether addiction is a disease or a choice; new research says it may be both. McGill University researcher Dr. Alain Dagher says that cravings for nicotine and other drugs can be viewed in specific brain regions that are also responsible for decision making. The research, which was presented at the 2013 Canadian Neuroscience Meeting, builds on previous investigations into how people who are addicted to a substance make the choice to use. Previous studies have suggested addicted individuals place greater value on immediate rewards (like the pleasure of cigarette smoking) over delayed rewards (like health benefits). Dagher's research suggests that the "value" of the drug to an individual at a given time (i.e. the intensity of the craving) can be visualized in the brain using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRIs), and that these images can be used to predict subsequent drug use. A specific brain region called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) regulates cigarette craving in response to drug cues like seeing people smoke, or smelling cigarettes; and the study suggests that addiction may result from a connection between the DLFPC and other parts of the brain. This information could lead to new treatments for cravings in people who are trying to quit, such as artificially stimulating the DLFPC. "Policy debates have often centred on whether addictive behaviour is a choice or a brain disease," said Dagher, "This research allows us to view addiction as a pathology of choice. Dysfunction in brain regions that assign value to possible options may lead to choosing harmful behaviours."
A clothing line that partnered with Lindsay Lohan in 2009 is now suing the actress for $5 million, claiming her "drug-addled image" has besmirched their brand. Lohan, 26, first filed a suit against D.N.A.M. Apparel Industries, for $1.1 million in damages, alleging that the company did not follow through on a 2009 deal promising her licensing fees in exchange for manufacturing and selling her "6126" clothing line. Now D.N.A.M. is filing a countersuit, asking for five times that amount. They say they tried their hardest to sell the 6126 clothing—named after Marilyn Monroe's birth date—but by Spring 2010, no one would come near the brand since Lohan was in rehab and her legal problems were playing out in the media "like a Greek tragedy." Fittingly, just as D.N.A.M. is suing for breach of contract and fraud, the actress is back in rehab again. But that doesn't mean she's giving up without a fight. Her attorney, Perry C. Wander, says: "The license agreement does not have a morals clause that allows the company to suspend payment for any behavior. The contract is not in LL's name thus she cannot be held personally liable. The cross claim is therefore frivolous and totally without merit and will be defended vigorously." At the time of its launch, Lohan wrote: "My fashion line, 6126, salutes modern women who understand that sophistication is always in vogue...The confidence and sophistication Monroe exuded is something we don't see today."
College-age females are binge drinking more than their male peers, according to a new study from Harvard Medical School.According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, men should consume no more than four drinks a day, and max 14 drinks a week, whereas women should consume no more than three drinks per day and seven per week. The researchers asked 992 college students—417 men, and 575 women—to report their daily drinking habits twice a week, throughout their first year of college. They found the women were more likely than men to exceed their weekly alcohol limit, which researchers say could put women at a higher risk for health problems in the future.“Recommended drinking limits are lower for women than for men because research to date has found that women experience alcohol-related problems at lower levels of alcohol consumption than men,” says Harvard med student Bettina B. Hoeppner. “Weekly cut-offs are recommended to prevent long-term harmful effects due to alcohol, such as liver disease and breast cancer. By exceeding weekly limits more often than men, women are putting themselves at increased risk for experiencing such long-term effects.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported earlier this year that binge drinking is a "serious and under-recognized problem" among women and young girls, with the behavior often starting as early as high school.
Rapper Chief Keef, 17, was arrested Monday afternoon at the high-end LeMeridan Hotel, north of Atlanta, for smoking weed in his hotel room. TMZ has released the recording of the "nerdiest 911 call ever," in which a panicky hotel security guy alerts the operator about "a bunch of gentlemen rolling marijuana and smoking...all in the room...the room's filled with smoke." In the recording, the guard expresses his shock that the weed rollers allowed him to enter the hotel room, despite their illicit activities. "I announced myself as 'security' and they let me in the room as if it doesn't even matter," he says. He also asks the operator to send authorities as quickly as possible, out of fear that "those guys may just bolt." Chief Keef, real name Keith Farrelle Cozart, was arrested and charged with one misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct for smoking pot. He was released Tueday morning, which he announced on Twitter: "Jus Got Out Of Dekalb County jail In Atlanta Mad As fuck [emoticons]". The Chicago native, whose debut album Finally Rich dropped last December, is known for rapping about violence and drug use in tracks like "Hate Bein' Sober." This isn't his first brush with the law; in March, he completed a 60-day sentence for violating his probation on a gun conviction earlier this year.
- Czech Police Seize 1 Million Liters of Illegal Booze [Reuters]
- Caroline Kennedy's Jury Acquits Accused Drug Dealer [New York Post]
- Adam Lanza Toxicology Test Shows No Drugs, Alcohol, Prescription Meds in Shooter's Body: Officials [Huffington Post]
- Want to Know if You're Sober Enough to Drive? Don't Ask an App [Yahoo]
- Thiago Silva Addresses Marijuana Use: "It Doesn't Change Your Performance" [Bleacher Report]
- Woman Accused of Drunk Driving is Called Dr. Unk [The Sun]
- Lawyer Says Mike Goodson Only Guilty of Being Drunk [USA Today]
- Chief Keef Arrested: Rapper Busted For Smoking Pot at Swanky Hotel [Daily News]
Drugs can mess any of us up. But for unborn babies, the effects of drug use can be especially nasty. The folks at 12 Palms Recovery Center in Florida have put together the latest "shocking statistics" in an in-depth motion-graphic video (below), laying out the facts of life for babies born to pregnant women who use alcohol and drugs. An estimated 150,000 babies are born each year in the US with birth defects—that's three out of every 100. And 4% of pregnant women use illicit drugs, which alone puts 176,200 unborn babies at risk of potential birth defects—many more, of course, are at risk from alcohol, tobacco or Rx drug use. Premature birth, brain damage, slow development, learning disabilities, HIV and obesity are all potential consequences. The video also illustrates which states have the highest rates of drug use during pregnancy (California and Texas), and how various substances—from meth to ecstasy to booze—can harm a baby.