American Morning

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August 11th, 2010
11:58 AM ET

Detectives, doctors try to stymie painkiller abuse

Editor's Note: You have seen the headlines from stars like Heath Ledger to Michael Jackson, but America's pill problem is growing in places far away from the spotlight. A new study says prescription drug overdoses were up by two thirds, from 1999 to 2006. Today in our original series "Addicted," Carol Costello shows us it can be deadly, not only for the addict, but for the doctor who comes between the addict and his fix.

By Brian Rokus, CNN

Louisville, Kentucky (CNN) – Detective Steve Watts is locking up another accused pain pill addict. But he's seen this suspect before.

She's back in handcuffs for the second time in less than a week. The charge this time, like it was just four days ago, is fraudulently obtaining prescription medication.

For Watts and the other detectives of the Louisville Police Department Prescription Drug Diversion Squad, it will be one of 500 to 600 arrests they make each year.

Even with arrests nearly every day, "We're just scratching the surface," according to Watts. The number of investigations the unit initiates is up 148 percent compared with a year ago.

It can be surprisingly easy to get prescription narcotics that are highly addictive, and they're highly profitable on the street. FULL STORY

Filed under: Addicted... • Drugs
August 11th, 2010
11:48 AM ET
August 11th, 2010
11:45 AM ET
August 11th, 2010
10:47 AM ET

Ex-wrestling CEO wins Senate primary

The votes have been cast in several major primary races. In Connecticut, former wrestling executive Linda McMahon won the GOP nomination for senate. She'll face democrat Richard Blumenthal in the fall. One of them will succeed retiring senator Chris Dodd. Fresh off last night's victory, Linda McMahon spoke with CNN's John Roberts Wednesday

Filed under: Politics
August 11th, 2010
05:18 AM ET

LIVE Blog: Chat with us during the show

Editor's Note: Welcome to American Morning's LIVE Blog where you can discuss the "most news in the morning" with us each week day. Join the live chat during the show by adding your comments below. It's your chance to share your thoughts on the day's headlines. You have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules: 1) Keep it brief 2) No writing in ALL CAPS 3) Use your real name (first name only is fine) 4) No links 5) Watch your language (that includes $#&*).

Study shows testing for Alzheimer's is accurate

By Dr. Sanjay Gupta
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

Even back when I was a medical student, we were taught Alzheimer’s disease (AD) began to cause damage in the brain years, perhaps decades before one’s memory started to fade.

The big question, of course, was how could you possibly screen for the disease before problems emerged? As things stood for a long time, the only way to know for sure if someone had AD was at the time of autopsy. In fact, the disease is named after Alois Alzheimer, a neuropathologist, who in 1906, diagnosed the disease by using special stains of the brain after a patient’s death.

Over the years, there have been sophisticated tests such as PET and MRI scanning, which can help diagnose a patient, but are often better at excluding other causes of memory loss rather than confirming early AD. In short, there has been no great screening test for Alzheimer’s disease.

That may all start to change today, based on a new study from the Archives of Neurology. The authors have conducted a study showing a spinal-fluid test can be nearly 100 percent accurate in identifying patients who have mild memory loss now, and will go on to develop AD.

Think about that for a second. I have seen so many patients with mild memory loss who ask the question – is this the beginning of Alzheimer’s disease? The truth is, as a medical community – we were not sure. This test could provide that answer. Read more

Sound off: We want to hear from you this morning. Add your comments to the LIVE Blog below and we'll read some of them on the show.

Filed under: Health • LIVE Blog