February 11, 2010

Bill Clinton hospitalized following chest 'discomfort,' gets stents

Posted: 06:46 PM ET

Bill Clinton takes bottles of water out of his plane January 18 at the international airport for Port-au-Prince, Haiti.New York (CNN) - Former President Bill Clinton was in "good spirits" Thursday after undergoing a procedure to insert two stents into one of his coronary arteries, his office said.

Clinton was hospitalized at the Columbia Campus of New York-Presbyterian Hospital after experiencing chest pain, according to Douglas Band, counselor to the former president.

Despite other media reports that he had left the hospital, Clinton remained there Thursday evening, a spokesman for the hospital said.

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Filed under: Bill Clinton • Larry King Live • Medical • Politics

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October 23, 2009

Commentary: Somers' cancer advice is risky

Posted: 05:47 PM ET
By Otis Brawley

Editor's note: Dr. Otis Brawley is chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society and a practicing oncologist. He is's Conditions expert and answers viewer questions weekly on Live.  Dr. Brawley will be on Larry King Live tonight, 9pm ET

Dr. Otis Brawley says open-mindedness has helped advance traditional medicine.

Dr. Otis Brawley says open-mindedness has helped advance traditional medicine.

(CNN) - This week, the comedic actress Suzanne Somers is promoting her newly released book, which espouses the virtues of alternative medicine and, more important, explains why one should avoid conventional medicine.

She is a wonderful actress, and I wish she would stick to her first chosen profession. I know some people will hear her message, follow her advice because of her celebrity status and be harmed. Her medical advice may even cause death.

She joins the list of celebrities who have advocated alternative and complementary treatments for disease and non-proven conventional medicine. I have spent much of my professional career documenting disparities in outcome, higher mortality and more suffering among minorities, poor people and even the uninsured middle class who have limited or no access to conventional medicine, the therapies Somers criticizes.

Mind you, I am not critical of the concept of alternative and complementary medicine. When used wisely, it can be useful. Indeed, open-mindedness to other ideas is how we advance conventional medicine. Today, conventional medicine has the extract of a tree bark called aspirin or the root of a plant called vincristine because of observations from those who practiced non-conventional medicine.

My problem is with some and not all of the advocates of alternative and complementary medicine. My problem is with those who reject the scientific method. Some actually do not reject the scientific method. They seem not to even realize that there is such a thing to reject.

(Read More)

Filed under: Larry King Live • Medical

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September 23, 2009

Gupta: I went to Afghanistan and all I got was this lousy H1N1

Posted: 11:52 AM ET

By Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

art_sanjay_sickIt started as a cough. It wasn’t the kind of cough where something is temporarily stuck in your throat. It wasn’t the kind of cough where simply clearing your throat would’ve been adequate. This was the kind of cough that hurts when you do it. A stinging pain that makes you wince and guard and hope that you don’t have to cough again any time soon. I thought I might have a fever, but of course, I was in the middle of covering a war in Afghanistan, and the conditions were… well, hot. So, maybe it was that. Problem was, the next day I wasn’t feeling any better – in fact, I was worse. I woke up in my dusty desert tent and tried to step out of my sleeping bag. Two steps later, I almost hit the deck. Incoming. Except this wasn’t due to any sirens going off, this was due to my own body simply being unable to hold myself up. I was lightheaded and freezing cold – even though it was over 100 degrees outside at that early hour of the morning.

I was nauseated and my entire body hurt. I tried to explain away my symptoms with lots of different excuses. You don’t sleep much while covering a war. My bulletproof jacket didn’t fit perfectly and was very heavy. There was a lot of dust and dirt, and maybe I had what the Marines referred to as the Kandahar Krud. It turned out to be none of those things.

I remember looking over at my camera man, Scottie McWhinnie. He looked absolutely awful. He was wearing a scarf on his head, and it was completely drenched in sweat. He was coughing so loudly and frequently that I was really starting to worry about him – and about myself. We each had it, whatever “it” was. I made a command decision. As a physician reporter in a war zone, I was going to get us medical care. That prompted our visit to a battlefield hospital, not as reporters this time, but as patients.


Filed under: Afghanistan • Medical

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August 21, 2009

Risk Factors For Prostate Cancer

Posted: 02:04 AM ET

Learn more about the risks of prostate cancer tonight 9pm ET on CNN

From the American Cancer Society

art.gloves.operation.giA risk factor is anything that affects your chance of getting a disease such as cancer. Different cancers have different risk factors. For example, exposing skin to strong sunlight is a risk factor for skin cancer. Smoking is a risk factor for many cancers.
But risk factors don't tell us everything. Many people with one or more risk factors never get cancer, while others with this disease may have had no known risk factors.

Although we don't yet completely understand the causes of prostate cancer, researchers have found several factors that may change the risk of getting it. For some of these factors, the link to prostate cancer risk is not clear, yet.

Age is the strongest risk factor for prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is very rare before the age of 40, but the chance of having prostate cancer rises rapidly after age 50. Almost 2 out of 3 prostate cancers are found in men over the age of 65.

Prostate cancer occurs more often in African-American men than in men of other races. African-American men are also more likely to be diagnosed at an advanced stage, and are more than twice as likely to die of prostate cancer as white men. Prostate cancer occurs less often in Asian-American and Hispanic/Latino men than in non-Hispanic whites. The reasons for these racial and ethnic differences are not clear.

Prostate cancer is most common in North America, northwestern Europe, Australia, and on Caribbean islands. It is less common in Asia, Africa, Central America, and South America. The reasons for this are not clear. More intensive screening in some developed countries likely accounts for at least part of this difference, but other factors are likely to be important as well. For example, lifestyle differences (diet, etc.) may be important: men of Asian descent living in the United States have a lower risk of prostate cancer than white Americans, but their risk is higher than that of men of similar backgrounds living in Asia.

(Check out the other risk factors)

Filed under: Larry King Live • Medical

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Doctors seek causes of prostate cancer in black men

Posted: 01:58 AM ET
If prostate cancer has affected you or someone you know, you'll want to tune in to Larry King Live Friday.  John McEnroe, Colin Powell, Joe Torre, and others join Larry for the hour, 9pm ET.
By Val Willingham
CNN Medical Producer

(CNN) - For 12 years, Georgia Dunston and Dr. Chiledum Ahaghotu have been trying to figure out why African-American men develop prostate cancer at an earlier age and are twice as likely to die from it than any other group in the United States.

Doctors are looking to genes for answers as to why prostate cancer is so deadly among black men.

Doctors are looking to genes for answers as to why prostate cancer is so deadly among black men.

Although scientists have long suspected a genetic component, the link was never explored in depth before Dunston and Ahaghotu decided started their study.

In 1997, Dunston, Ph.D., the founding director of Howard University's National Human Genome Center, and Ahaghotu, a urologist, began the African-American Hereditary Prostate Cancer Study to study the family genes of black men with prostate cancer. By following the different generations, and tracking their health and genetic makeup, the scientists hoped to better understand why prostate cancer is so deadly in this population and whether the disease is primarily inherited or caused by environmental or lifestyle factors. Sound off: How can we close the disparity gap in healthcare for black Americans?

"We're looking for those individuals who can give us an indicator of what are the genes that are associated with that underlying cancer," said Dunston. "Because it's not a difference in the gene - the difference is whether you're born with it or it's caused by changes that develop later in life"

Thirteen research centers across the country, including one at Howard University in Washington, recruited black men and their relatives - siblings, fathers, uncles, grandfathers, great-grandfathers from a total of 77 families - and recorded their medical history. With support from the National Institutes of Health and the National Human Genome Research Institute, AAHPC researchers have been sifting through family health records and looking at the participants' genetic makeup, through blood samples, to see whether there are common genetic mutations or markers that are linked to the disease.

(Read More)

Filed under: Larry King Live • Medical

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June 18, 2009

Nick Jonas' Cause

Posted: 03:30 PM ET


16-year-old Nick Jonas was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 13.

The youngest memeber of the Jonas Brothers has teamed up with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, and will be testifying before Congress next week to raise awareness and request additional research funds.

He'll also be participating in the JDRF Children's Congress in Washington next week.

To learn more, go to

Filed under: Jonas Brothers • Medical

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June 5, 2009

A tribute to our viewers and the American Spirit

Posted: 02:04 PM ET


From the desk of Larry King:

While the debate rages on in America about how do we deal with illegal immigrants I must say the last week has shown we can put it aside when it comes to the America Spirit.

Many CNN viewers have been following the story of the an 18-year-old Guatemalan man who doctors say faces almost certain death unless he receives a transplanted heart here in the United States.

When I met Juan last Sunday in Atlanta I did not see his status, what I saw was a terrific young man and his family clinging to hope as he seeks a new heart. Initially, Juan just hoped to see his parent before he died, now he has a chance to live due to the outpouring of financial support from CNN viewers across the world. He still has a long way to go and he may still not make it but the fact our viewers made a decision to help this boy shows how great the American spirit is when it comes to valuing a life no matter what Juan's status.

We have a lot to work out in our country when it comes to immigrants and the impact on our health care system, but in this one case I think we should all be proud of what you have done.  I was honored to have my Foundation help get him to a hospital that could help and thankful for the viewers who are making a dying man's wish come true.

~ Larry

Please read more about Juan by clicking here

To learn more about the Larry King Cardiac Foundation click here


Filed under: Larry King Live • Medical

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June 3, 2009

Red Bull Gives You Cocaine?

Posted: 01:37 AM ET

HONG KONG (AFP) Hong Kong officials say they have found traces of cocaine in cans of Red Bull, a few days after Taiwanese authorities confiscated close to 18,000 cases of the popular energy drink.

Officials at the Centre for Food Safety said a laboratory analysis found tiny amounts of the illegal drug in samples of "Red Bull Cola," "Red Bull Sugar-free" and "Red Bull Energy Drink", a spokesman said.

The drink has now been taken off the shelves of major supermarkets, the spokesman said in a statement issued late Monday. He added that the amount of cocaine found in the drinks posed little health danger.

(Read More)

Filed under: Larry King Live • Medical

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June 2, 2009

Why health advice on 'Oprah' could make you sick

Posted: 03:54 AM ET

By Weston Kosova and Pat Wingert | NEWSWEEK

art.gloves.operation.giOutside Oprah's world, there isn't a raging debate about replacing hormones. [Suzanne] Somers "is simply repackaging the old, discredited idea that menopause is some kind of hormone-deficiency disease, and that restoring them will bring back youth," says Dr. Nanette Santoro, director of reproductive endocrinology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Older women aren't missing hormones. They just don't need as much once they get past their childbearing years. Unless a woman has significant discomfort from hot flashes—and most women don't—there is little reason to prescribe them. Most women never use them. Hormone therapy can increase a woman's risk of heart attacks, strokes, blood clots and cancer. And despite Somers's claim that her specially made, non-FDA-approved bioidenticals are "natural" and safer, they are actually synthetic, just like conventional hormones and FDA-approved bioidenticals from pharmacies—and there are no conclusive clinical studies showing they are less risky. That's why endocrinologists advise that women take the smallest dose that alleviates symptoms, and use them only as long as they're needed.

"It completely blew me away that Oprah would go to her for advice on this topic," says Cynthia Pearson, the executive director of the nonprofit National Women's Health Network and an authority on hormone therapy. "I have to say, it diminished my respect."

At Oprah's retail store in Chicago, women can purchase used shoes and outfits that she wore on the show. Her viewers follow her guidance because they like and admire her, sure. But also because they believe that Oprah, with her billions and her Rolodex of experts, doesn't have to settle for second best. If she says something is good, it must be.

This is where things get tricky. Because the truth is, some of what Oprah promotes isn't good, and a lot of the advice her guests dispense on the show is just bad. The Suzanne Somers episode wasn't an oddball occurrence. This kind of thing happens again and again on Oprah. Some of the many experts who cross her stage offer interesting and useful information (props to you, Dr. Oz). Others gush nonsense. Oprah, who holds up her guests as prophets, can't seem to tell the difference. She has the power to summon the most learned authorities on any subject; who would refuse her? Instead, all too often Oprah winds up putting herself and her trusting audience in the hands of celebrity authors and pop-science artists pitching wonder cures and miracle treatments that are questionable or flat-out wrong, and sometimes dangerous.

(Read More)

Filed under: Larry King Live • Medical

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May 31, 2009

Update: Strangers reunite dying teen with Guatemalan family

Posted: 04:08 PM ET**Update: Today, Larry King will visit Juan Gonzalez in the hospital.   The teen from Guatemala developed heart problems in the US and was diagnosed to die (CNN's full coverage below.)

His dying wish was to see his parents. Through Delta Airlines and the donations from strangers, Gonzalez' parents were able to come to the United States to see him.

After the story aired on CNN, donations came in for a heart transplant for Juan. The Larry King Cardiac Foundation helped by connecting the boy with a hospital who can provide care for his much needed heart transplant surgery. Larry's in Atlanta today to promote his new book "My Remarkable Journey". On the way to his Atlanta event, Larry stopped by the hospital to see Juan Gonzalez. CNN is covering this emotional meeting and we'll bring you more coverage as it develops.


From Brooke Baldwin and Shawn Nottingham

(CNN) Eighteen-year-old Juan Gonzalez was dying alone in a hospital, thousand of miles from his Guatemalan home. He was separated from the family he had traveled to the United States to help support. Diagnosed with a chronically weak heart, without much money and lacking resources, Gonzalez seemed bound to die without ever seeing his parents again. That changed after CNN aired a story about his plight.

Thanks to the help of a compassionate hospital staff, a U.S. congressman and a concerned community, Gonzalez has been reunited with his parents for what may be the last time. Like many undocumented workers, Gonzalez came to the United States last fall to provide some financial help for his family, who had fallen on hard times back in Guatemala. He took a job as a dishwasher in Rome, Georgia, making about $250 a week. Then, in November, his heart gave out.

Gonzalez has been in and out of the hospital for seven months. Doctors diagnosed Gonzalez with dilated cardiomyopathy, which means his heart muscle is very weak. Dr. Frank Stegall, Gonzalez's cardiologist, said the Guatemalan teen's heart pumps only 20 percent of the blood a healthy heart should.But as Gonzalez's heart failed him, he opened up the hearts of others. Stegall and the staff at Rome's Redmond Regional Medical Center were inspired by Gonzalez's attitude and courage and set out to reunite the dying teen with his parents. They contacted U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Georgia.Gingrey got the State Department involved in expediting visas for Pascual and Maria Gonzalez, Juan's parents.

Delta Air Lines donated tickets to Atlanta, and the Gonzalezes boarded a plane for the first time, bound for Georgia to see their dying son.Gonzalez has vowed to fight to the end, but doctors say his prognosis isn't good. With no money, Stegall says, it will be tough for the teen to get a heart transplant.

Filed under: Larry King Live • LKL Web Exclusive • Medical

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LARRY KING LIVE'S Emmy-winning Senior Executive Producer Wendy Walker knows what it takes to make a great story.

With anecdotes, provocative emails, scandals, show transcripts and insights into Walker's long working relationship with Larry King, her new book PRODUCER issues readers an invitation to listen in on the most intriguing conversations on the planet.

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Saving a heart a day is the goal! Learn more about the Foundation and it's efforts to help the uninsured

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