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Entries in CBS (3)

Wednesday
Mar092011

Charlie Sheen: What's Next, Who Can Help?

Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- Actor Charlie Sheen took to his online program Tuesday night, Sheen's Korner, to fire back at his recent firing from Two and a Half Men and blast his former bosses. Sheen has dismissed widespread suspicion that addiction or mental illness might be fueling his antics, claiming earlier to be on the drug "called Charlie Sheen" and not bi-polar but "bi-winning."

But his increasingly erratic behavior, which cost him his job Monday on the hit CBS comedy, has many health professionals concerned about his well-being even as skeptics say it's all for show.

"When addicts are high on drugs, or a manic person is high due to the biochemical changes in his brain, they reject help because they truly believe that they are 'winners' who know better than everyone else what is best for them," said Dr. Carole Lieberman, a psychiatrist at the University of California, Los Angeles.

But the job loss and the removal of his 2-year-old twins, Max and Bob, from his home last week might signal the end of Sheen's "winning" streak.

Eric Braun, a friend of Sheen's, told GQ magazine "there are just three options" left for the fired actor: "rehab, jail, or death."

Mental health experts agree. "Frankly, we really don't know what leads one person to a specific end," said Dr. Eric Caine, chair of psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center. "No doubt, this man is a mess and his 'destiny' may not be a happy one." While Sheen's conduct in media interviews and in his online show, Sheen's Korner, has shocked viewers, psychiatrists say they've seen it all before. "There is nothing so unusual about what we are seeing -- for those of us in the mental health field -- just that we are seeing it so publicly," Caine said.

Sheen's long track record of offenses -- from drugs and violence to rumors of trouble on set -- might have hinted at mental health problems in the past. Yet he has consistently avoided major repercussions that could have "tempered his grandiosity," according to Alesandra Rain, co-founder of Point of Return, a nonprofit organization in Westlake Village, Calif., that helps people escape pill addiction.

"Now the consequences are beginning to hit him, but he is still working from the perspective that he is untouchable," Rain said. "His media blitz is being misinterpreted as public support and he is not in the frame of mind to realize the damage he is doing."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb182011

CBS Reporter Suffered Complex Migraine, Not Stroke, Doctor Says

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images/File Photo(LOS ANGELES) -- A doctor who treated Serene Branson, the CBS Los Angeles reporter whose garbled live report from Sunday's Grammy awards had many wondering if she suffered a stroke on the air, said a complex migraine was to blame.

"Her description of the events is really entirely typical of complex migraine," said Dr. Andrew Charles, director of the Headache Research and Treatment Program in the UCLA Department of Neurology, who saw Branson Thursday morning.

A symptom of migraine aura is "dysphasic language dysfunction," in which people know what they want to say but they can't get the words out.  This is similar to aphasia, which can signal a stroke or a tumor.

"Imaging studies ruled out other kinds of problems like a stroke or primary brain event," Charles said.

Like a stroke, a complex migraine can disturb blood flow in the brain.  But the main event in a migraine is "a storm of brain activity" that causes "waves of change in brain function" that spread across the brain, Charles said.

"There are dramatic changes in blood flow, but in the case of migraine, the changes don't reach the point where they actually damage the brain," Charles said.  "There are no residual effects."

The video of the episode was to some upsetting to watch, as Branson's speech suddenly became slurred and incomprehensible.  She appeared increasingly aware that something was wrong during the broadcast.

Branson was examined shortly after the incident by paramedics on location. Her vital signs were normal and she was not hospitalized.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb142011

Did Reporter Suffer Stroke on Live TV?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images / File Photo(LOS ANGELES) -- As Serene Branson, a young and healthy-looking CBS Los Angeles reporter, delivered a live report from the Grammys' red carpet Sunday night, her speech suddenly became slurred and incomprehensible. She appeared increasingly worried and aware that something was wrong throughout the newscast.

"Serene Branson was examined by paramedics on scene immediately after her broadcast. Her vital signs were normal,” said CBS spokesman Mike Nelson. “She was not hospitalized. As a precautionary measure, a colleague gave her a ride home and she says that she is feeling fine this morning."

But after watching the clip, several doctors said that Sunday night's events caught on tape should not be taken lightly.

“She appears [in the video] to have an aphasia, [or] problem with expressive language, and right-sided facial weakness,” said Dr. Larry Goldstein, director of Duke Stroke Center in Durham, N.C. “Although this can be caused by other conditions, it is very concerning for stroke."

Aphasia usually comes on suddenly after a stroke or head injury, but it can also progress gradually because of a growing brain tumor or degenerative disease.

The American Stroke Association says that if a person shows any sign of a stroke, including difficulty speaking, she should get to the hospital immediately.

"From what I saw of the broadcast, it would make sense that the person seeks immediate neurological evaluation," said Dr. Patrick Lyden, chairman of the department of neurology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. "The symptoms of altered speech -- aphasia -- can be a symptom of an underlying problem, such as stroke or tumor."

A stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, is an interruption of the blood supply to a part of the brain. The term comes from the old adage that a sufferer had received a "stroke of God's hand" and was therefore damaged.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio