On Monday night’s episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, 47-year-old Kim Richards seemed like a sobbing, red-faced mess engaged in a series of strange activities—locking herself into the bathroom at The Sur opening, trilling about the thrill of reaching into her purse for a lipstick and discovering a vibrator, marveling over strange, dirty garbage left by previous passengers in her limo. But it sounds like the former child star has come a long way since that disturbing episode was shot. After Richards entered rehab for alleged prescription drug and alcohol abuse last December, a few media sources reported that she had checked out early. But Richards insists she completed the full 28-program, despite reports to the contrary. Richards returned home and later popped up at the Weinstein Company’s Golden Globes after party on Sunday, where she said she was feeling “phenomenal.” Running out to parties when you’re just back from rehab may not be the best prescription for a sober future, but Kim had her big sister Kathy Hilton, by her side lately instead of her more little sister Kyle—which may make for less riveting reality TV is surely better for everyone concerned.
Alcoholic parents have long been accused of wreaking havoc on their children's lives. But a new study suggests they screw up their kids' brains too. Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University found that teenagers with a family history of alcoholism display "weaker brain response during risky decision-making." The study involved 31 people aged 13-15. Eighteen had a family history of alcoholism and 13 didn't. With their heads monitored by a functional MRI, the kids were asked to make "risky" and "safe" decisions based around a Wheel of Fortune-like game. Initial results didn't say much: the children with family alcoholism performed similarly to those without. But the MRI results told a different story. "We found two areas of the brain the responded differently," says assistant professor Bonnie J. Nagel. Those areas were the prefrontal cortex and cerebellum, where teens with family alcoholism displayed weaker responses than their peers when faced with risky decisions. "We believe that weaker activation of these brain areas, known to be important for optimal decision making, may confer vulnerability towards risky decisions with regards to future alcohol use in adolescents already at risk for alcoholism," adds Nagel.
Californian mother Aide Mendez, 23, was last seen on Sunday, smoking meth and arguing with the father of her children, 33-year-old Eduardo Lopez. That night, neighbors heard gunshots and Lopez crawled with a knife in his hand from his apartment to the front yard, where he lay bleeding from a wound to the neck. Police found this grisly scene in the Central Valley apartment: Mendez had murdered her two young children—17-month-old Aliyah Echeverria and 3-year-old Isaiah Echeverria—as well as her boyfriend’s cousin Paul Medina, 27, before taking her own life in the bathroom with a bullet to the head. Before the argument, Mendez and Medina filmed themselves smoking meth on an iPad. Cops are reviewing the device for possible explanations; they also found 10 grams of meth, $8,000 in cash and three firearms in the apartment—two of them recently fired. “We do know that drugs played a key role, but we don’t know to what extent,” says Central Valley homicide commander Lt. Mark Salazar. “She was seen prior to the shooting smoking methamphetamine. She recorded herself on an iPad showing her and Paul Medina smoking meth. We know the power of meth.” Of the video, he notes, “Her actions just seemed bizarre; her mannerism, the way she was moving her hands and her facial expressions.” Eduardo Lopez remains in critical condition.
Health professionals never stop warning about the risks of alcohol during pregnancy. But a new study shows it's particularly dangerous during the second half of the first trimester. According to the research, for each drink consumed during pregnancy per day, a baby is 25% more likely to have birth defects and health problems. All 992 participants recruited for the study had previously called a California telephone line to get answers about alcohol use during pregnancy. After all their infants were screened, the results showed that higher alcohol ingestion during pregnancy was linked to higher chances of the physical characteristics of fetal alcohol syndrome: abnormal head size, altered shape of the eyes and lips and neurological problems. "The take-home message is that there's not a low threshold level below which drinking alcohol doesn’t raise the risk,” says study author Dr. Christina Chambers of the University of California, San Diego. "This supports the surgeon general's recommendation that drinking be avoided entirely."
Kid Rock apologizes for smoking a cigar at a non-smoking concert and blames his poor judgement on being intoxicated. The 40-year-old singer was in the audience for a Travis Tritt concert in his home town of Warren, Michigan Friday. The venue, Andiamo Celebrity Showroom, happens to be a non-smoking arena. Fellow concert goers were angered to see Kid Rock spark up a cigar 15 minutes after he arrived: one 58 year-old asthmatic man plans to file a report with the health department because of his exposure to smoke. "I doubt I'm the first one to ever make a bad decision while being intoxicated, so he without fault please cast the first stone," philosophizes Rock."My most sincere apologies to the patrons I may have offended, and a big middle finger in advance to all the haters and attorneys who will somehow try to find an easy paycheck in all this." Michigan passed a law in 2010 banning smoking in bars, restaurants and other public venues.
US to Force Drug Firms to Report Money Paid to Doctors [New York Times]
Why Teens Are More Prone to Addiction and Mental Illness [LiveScience]
Alcohol Risk to Fetus Highest at End of First Trimester [My Health News Daily]
Tonnes of Cocaine Pulled From Submerged Sub [ABC News]
Are You Addicted to Change? Nine Signs That You Need to Slow Down [Huffington Post]