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Science!
May 14, 2014
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Medications that could help alcoholics quit drinking are rarely prescribed, according to a new study released Tuesday. The drugs — acamprosate and naltrexone — reduce cravings for alcohol, but researchers say there's a lack of awareness and understanding of their efficacy among doctors.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, focused on "the number needed to treat," The New York Times reports. That is an indicator of how many people have to take a pill for one to be helped; this study found that the number to treat for acamprosate was 12, while naltrexone was 20 (widely used drugs like statins need at least 25 people, often much more). The researchers only looked at the effectiveness of the drugs in combination with counseling and therapy.

"These drugs are really underused quite a bit, and our findings show that they can help thousands and thousands of people," says lead author Dr. Daniel E. Jonas at the University of North Carolina. "They're not blockbuster. They're not going to work for everybody. But they can make a difference for a lot of people." The World Health Organization just reported that alcohol kills someone every 10 seconds worldwide. In the U.S. about 18 million people abuse alcohol, not quite a third of those receive treatment, and less than 10 percent are prescribed medications, The New York Times said. Catherine Garcia

it's all ending
9:42 p.m. ET

No Doubt singer and The Voice coach Gwen Stefani has filed for divorce from husband Gavin Rossdale, lead singer of the band Bush, after nearly 13 years of marriage.

TMZ reports that Stefani cited irreconcilable differences in her divorce petition, and is asking for joint custody of the couple's three young children. She also checked a box on the form denying Rossdale spousal support. Rossdale filed his response at the same time, and is also asking for joint custody.

In a statement, the pair said, "While the two of us have come to the mutual decision that we will no longer be partners in marriage, we remain partners in parenthood and are committed to jointly raising our three sons in a happy and healthy environment." This news made it official: Love is dead. Catherine Garcia

This just in
9:07 p.m. ET

A severe storm in New Hampshire Monday night caused a circus tent to collapse, killing two and leaving about 15 people injured.

New Hampshire State Police said that initially 250 people were trapped at the Lancaster Fairgrounds, and Gov. Maggie Hassan activated the state's emergency operations center, USA Today reports. Severe thunderstorm warnings have been issued across New England by the National Weather Service. Catherine Garcia

voters first presidential forum
8:10 p.m. ET
Bryan Thomas/Getty Images

At the Voters First Presidential Forum in New Hampshire on Monday, Gov. Chris Christie (R-New Jersey) said that the country needs to "embrace" people who are addicted to alcohol and drugs, and provide rehabilitation instead of jail.

Christie was asked by moderator Jack Heath why more isn't being done for people with drug and alcohol addictions. The governor said that his state was "the first in the country to say for non-violent drug offenders no more prison. They're going to mandatory in-patient drug treatment, because this is a disease. The war on drugs has been a failure — well intentioned, but a failure."

Christie said that "everyone makes mistakes," and society needs to "reach out" and "embrace those people and say, 'If you're not a violent offender, if you're not dealing drugs to our children, we need to get you treatment rather than prison.'" He added that addiction can hit anyone, and "we need the country and president to stand up and say, 'This is a disease and we need to fix it.'" Catherine Garcia

voters first presidential forum
7:44 p.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

During the five minutes he was allowed to speak at the Voters First Presidential Forum Monday in New Hampshire, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) accused China of cheating when it comes to trade, said he would take on Vladimir Putin, warned that the United States is on its way to "becoming Greece," called President Obama "weak," and said Bill and Hillary Clinton do not tell the truth.

Graham was asked by moderator Jack Heath what he would do to maintain free trade that is fair trade, and also to name a nation that was "cheating" the U.S. "China's cheating," Graham responded. "They're manipulating currency to create a discount for products made in China and we don't do a damn thing about it. They're building islands over resource-rich property owned by others because they can. They cyber attack us, steal our intellectual property, and no one pushes back. If I'm president, we're going to push back against China." He added, "Here’s my foreign policy — a clenched fist and an open hand. You choose."

Graham also said he would be a "different person" for Putin to deal with, calling Obama "weak," and said he would arm Ukrainians "so they can fight for their own freedom" and "take every bit of natural gas we can from America in an environmentally-sound way that we don't use and export it to Europe to undercut Putin's monopoly." He also wants to "rebuild NATO" and the military, and believes "we are on our way to becoming Greece." He quickly switched gears to the Clintons, saying he's been "dealing with that crowd for 20 years" and is "fluent in Clinton speak." "When Bill says, 'I didn't have sex with that woman,' he did," he said. "When she says, 'I'll tell you about building the pipeline when I'm president,' she won’t. I understand this crowd, and I can beat them." Catherine Garcia

This just in
6:40 p.m. ET
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On Monday, Senate Democrats blocked a Republican effort to cut federal funding to Planned Parenthood with a mostly party-line vote of 53-46, seven votes shy of the 60 needed to advance.

The measure, sponsored by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), was in response to videos secretly recorded by anti-abortion activists that show officials from Planned Parenthood talking about providing medical researchers with tissue from aborted fetuses. Conservatives say that the organization is doing this illegally for profit, while Planned Parenthood denies the allegations and says the videos are edited. Conservatives in the House and Senate are already saying that in the fall, they will oppose any 2016 spending bills that include federal funding for Planned Parenthood, The Associated Press reports. Catherine Garcia

you're fired
5:06 p.m. ET

A rivalry between two Harvard University student publications hilariously escalated this summer, to the point where one group not only pranked the other in epic fashion, but also Donald Trump.

It all started when staffers from the humor publication Harvard Lampoon stole The Harvard Crimson's treasured president's chair. The group's president asked for it back, but the pranksters had bigger plans underway. Weeks later, they published a parody Crimson editorial endorsing Donald Trump for president, complete with a photo of Trump sitting in the chair, surrounded by Lampoon staffers purporting to work for The Crimson.

The editorial, which the Lampoon staff wrote to the Trump campaign about their plans to publish, was a gem, as described by The Crimson:

An article, emblazoned with the headline "Crimson Endorses Trump for President" and signed "The Crimson Staff," cropped up online, claiming to tout the newspaper's support for the billionaire Republican primary candidate's bid for the presidency in 2016. Among other points, it dubbed him "a celebrity above all" and "the most formidable and competitive candidate on the Republican side." It also espoused his job creation record—specifically the supposed good work of The Celebrity Apprentice a reality show Trump has hosted. The editorial reasoned that the show helped "inactive or troubled" celebrities regain their fame and thus created jobs. [The Harvard Crimson]

The Crimson, being a typical college newspaper, has a history of endorsing Democrats. Julie Kliegman

planned parenthood
4:33 p.m. ET
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Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) announced Monday he is cutting Medicaid funding for the state's two Planned Parenthood clinics. The move comes in the midst of a Republican congressional push to defund the group after a controversial, covert video released by conservative activists last month showed Planned Parenthood discussing fetal tissue donations.

"Planned Parenthood does not represent the values of the people of Louisiana and shows a fundamental disrespect for human life," the presidential hopeful said in a statement.

The two Louisiana clinics don't offer abortions, Talking Points Memo reports. A third clinic being built in New Orleans will, but officials say they will not participate in the donation program.

The U.S. Senate is expected to fall a few votes shy of the 60 votes needed Monday to continue discussing defunding the organization. Julie Kliegman

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