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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Guest Panel Dicussion Scott Peterson Trial; Interview with Dr. Weil
Aired November 10, 2004 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight another Scott Peterson Juror dismissed. The second one in two days and this time it's the foreman. What in the world is going on.
We'll ask Court TV's Nancy Grace, the former prosecutor on the scene at the courthouse, high profile defense attorney, Chris Pixley.
Chuck Smith the former prosecutor in the county where Peterson was tried.
Defense attorney Trent Copeland, he was in court for closing arguments.
Vinnie Politan of Court TV, a former prosecutor and private sector attorney.
Plus the two consultants who helped pick this juror. Jo-Ellan Dimitrius, she worked with Peterson's defense. And Howard Varinsky, he worked with the prosecution. Also former Peterson Juror, Justin Falconer, who was replaced back in June.
And then the doctor is in, Dr. Andrew Weil. We'll take you calls, help solve your problems from the flu shortage, to Vioxx recall. You name it, it's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
KING: OK, let's ask the obvious question before we get to the story of extraneous things, the boat and other things, what the hell is going on?
Nancy Grace, there's no other way to put it, where are we?
NANCY GRACE, COURT TV: You're right. There is no other way to put it. Having three jurors thrown off of one jury in this short space of time is basically unheard of. Within 24 hours we've lost two jurors, including the foreperson. As you recall, this juror, the lead juror, he took Justin Falconer's place as the J.D./M.D. He took copious notes, Larry. He had multiple notebooks stacked on the window seal behind him in the jury box. It came down today, he's off.
Just as we were settle in -- settling in from losing juror number 7, the Asian female who sat on the front, we lose the foreperson. Coming on as a new juror, is white retiree who is in his '60s. He knew Both Scott and Laci. Why, his daughter's fiance bought The Shack. It's a restaurant the two of them owned back in St. Louie of Pispo (ph). Now that's the new juror, big question who's the new foreperson, the firefighter who picked at his fingernails throughout the entire trial, juror number 6, the new foreperson, at least as of tonight.
KING: All right. Chris Pixley, how do you read this?
What -- as someone told me today, why isn't this a mistrial?
CHRIS PIXLEY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It's a good question. You know, I think that all judges try to keep juries together. All judges try to keep the trial going until you have a final deliberation. I don't know what we really can glean from all of this at this point. And it's a lot of speculation as to what's happening. I would be concern that the dismissal of two jurors could have a negative impact on the deliberations, and in particular could really affect the willingness that the jurors have and the commitment that they have to reach a unanimous verdict.
You take 12 people, I don't care if they're the most gregarious people in the world and you put them in a room together and tell them they have to deliberate over one man's life, and reaching consensus is very difficult. You take a few out of the mix, and it makes it that much more difficult. And the original 10 are going to have to be getting tired of it at this point, Larry.
KING: Chuck, if Peterson is found guilty, are these strong grounds for appeal?
CHUCK SMITH, FORMER SAN MATEO COUNTY PROSECUTOR: I don't think so. Even though it's unusual that we've lost two jurors, it really doesn't present much in terms of grounds for appeal. Because the juror yesterday was removed for misconduct. And misconduct is black and white. If you do some research outside the facts of the case, you're removed. So, there's no legal issue there.
The foreperson today, I understand, asked to be excused. I mean, my speculation is this. I think there was in some ways palace rebellion. The other jurors blamed the foreperson for the loss of juror number 7. They were suspicious of him because he knows all the rules, he's the lawyer and they basically said we don't want you leading us anymore and his reaction was, I want out of here. So, there's really no issue regarding removing him, because I think he asked to be removed. So, the integrity of the verdict, if there ever is a verdict, I don't think will be questioned -- well, they'll make arguments, but I don't think they have good arguments for appeal.
KING: Trent Copeland, someone said to me today a pretty good point, when a judge implores a jury, you must have a verdict, Thanksgiving's coming, long weekend. You go back. Go back. Go back. Suppose if it's 10-2, 10 people want conviction, 2 people want non- conviction, don't you put pressure, no matter how it's going, on those two?
TRENT COPELAND, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know, whether the judge does or whether the jury does, it can always lead to a problem. Now, I don't disagree with Chuck in this sense, Larry. Unless we know how and why the circumstance that were relating to the removal of the foreperson, unless we know the answer to that, it's impossible to know whether or not there's grounds for appeal.
KING: When you put pressure on a jury...
COPELAND: But when you put pressure on a jury.
KING: If that jury is tempted too, don't you weaken the two no matter how it's going?
COPELAND: You do, Larry. And actually, California has a provision for that. And that is, a judge cannot really force a jury to go back and sort of implicitly say you've got to reach a verdict.
KING: So, a jury can say to a judge, we can't.
COPELAND: Absolutely. And the law provides for that. And anything short of that really can be the grounds for a mistrial.
KING: Vinnie, you're a correspondent for Court TV, you're also an attorney. What's your overview of this. And since we don't know why this guy was thrown off, what do we make of it?
VINNIE POLITAN, COURT TV: I think, the big significant thing today is that there's a new leader. This is a guy -- you know, four people sometimes are elected in the beginning before anyone knows what their opinion is. This leader was chosen after 32 hours of deliberations. So these other jurors have been listening to what this guy has to say for 32 hours. And they say, you know what, we want you to be our leader. So, what I think this means is how goes juror number six, that's the way the majority of this jury is going to go.
KING: Do you think, based on your experience, Vinnie, that this is a split jury?
POLITAN: From everything we're hearing, there's just chaos in there. Where there's chaos there's got to be some kind of split. Because if everyone is agreeing with one another and things are going smoothly to a verdict, you wouldn't have all these things popping up. So, from my experience covering case and trying cases, there is something going on and it could be trouble in reaching a verdict in this case.
KING: And Nancy, what -- before I ask you about the boat, did something from a prosecution standpoint, and looking at this now as a reporter, did something go wrong?
This looked so definite at the start and now obviously it's not.
Did something go wrong?
GRACE: Well, Larry, I've been asked a million times how do you win a case? And I always said you win or lose in your jury selection. It may not make sense to non-lawyers, but when you strike that jury, you have struck -- you have cast the die in your case. And we're seeing jury problems in this case. Does that mean there will be a mistrial, not necessarily. I'm still hoping for a verdict.
But Larry, this is not set in stone. Just this afternoon I just came out of the courtroom, suddenly we heard there was big news, the jury was going to be brought back into the courtroom, everyone converged trying to find out what was happening. We all waited about 40 minutes. Then a bailiff came out and said, all right, clear out everybody, the show's over. Basicly everybody left. And there are rumors right now, there are reports -- of course, there's the boat issues floating around that you refer to. That the reason everyone came back is because there are even more jury problems. So it ain't over yet, Larry.
KING: What's -- can you quickly tell us what's with this boat?
GRACE: Well, Larry, I've got to tell you something, as far as what happens in a courtroom, it's basically all's fair in love and war. But this is outside the courtroom, and I've never seen anything so cruel in my life...
KING: Whose boat is it?
GRACE: About one block from this -- this boat belongs to Mark Geragos, it's parked on his property. This is a boat that he used to conduct a demonstration, that the boat would tip over. That was his theory, as you know by the defense. This is a property that was bought in July by Mark Geragos for about $1.5 million according to the local county register.
KING: For what purpose?
GRACE: This is a boat -- I don't know. It looks like a law office building, but it has a parking lot beside. And this boat is parked out there. It's a Gamefisher, basicly a Scott Peterson boat look alike, 14 foot aluminum. But what's so disturbing is, in the boat, Larry, is a dummy that's supposed to be Laci Peterson. There are anchors in the boat, there are pliers in the boat, there's a box in the boat.
KING: For what purpose.
GRACE: Really, this is the boat he used as a demonstration. It's parked over by the courthouse.
KING: I mean, for what purpose?
GRACE: You're going to have to ask Mark Geragos that.
KING: Well, since we don't know. Since we -- do we know that he put this fake body in the boat?
GRACE: Well, Larry, I know that it's his boat on his property.
KING: But we don't know...
GRACE: You'd have to ask Geragos that.
KING: Somebody could have come by and -- Aha! So are we assuming.
GRACE: Maybe -- I know who did it, Larry. You just jogged my memory. It was the transient and the sex predator and Satanic cult.
KING: Why would Mark put a body in the boat, for what purpose, the jury's sequestered. What purpose?
GRACE: Obviously, this is a leftover boat from the demonstration that was not allowed parked in and has been callously, I don't know if it's some grand design, but callously parked one block from this building. And Laci's family, Larry, can go by and see a dummy of their dead daughter.
KING: Chris Pixley, why...
SMITH: Larry, if I can jump in a second.
KING: Go ahead. All right, Chuck, go ahead.
SMITH: I want to tell you what's happening at that boat right now, as we speak and the sunsets. This has now turned into a memorial for Laci and Conner Peterson. That boat is now filled with flowers from all over the world. Cards saying, you know, justice for Laci and Conner. People are lighting candles at that boat now. So what was perceived as a negative here, these people, the people that supporting Laci and Conner are trying to turn it into a positive, paying tribute to Laci and Conner now.
KING: Since the jury is sequestered, Chris, what's the point of his boat?
PIXLEY: Yes. And the only concern, really, that you could have, Larry, is that maybe when they're traveling back and forth to their hotel that they may be passing by. But assuming that they're not, I agree, it really doesn't have a purpose. And it also really doesn't present any danger.
I think it's probably going to be an emotional lightning rod. It already has already become that. And I do think, you know, the one person that will have the opportunity to ask the question, who put it there? And asked the question to Mark Geragos will be the judge. And Mark does still have the gag order hanging over his head. I think this is what First Amendment scholars would call symbolic speech. And he may be violating the gag order by commenting on the weight of the evidence, just leaving it there.
KING: Let me get a break. We'll be right back. We'll get the thoughts of Jo-Ellen Dimitrius, Howard Varinsky, they selected this jury. Want to get mad, get mad at them. And Justin Falconer, who was once on this jury. He's on a growing list, by the way.
We may do a show that is just jury people before the trial is over. Don't go away. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DELUCCHI: In deciding whether or not to testify, the defendant may choose to rely on the state of the evidence and upon other failure, if any, of the people to prove beyond a reasonable doubt every essential element of the charge against him. No lack of testimony on the defendant's part will make up for a failure of proof by the people, so as to support a finding against him on any essential element.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: In this segment, before we get back with our panel, let's get the thoughts of some people definitely involved with all this, Jo- Ellan Dimitrius here in Los Angeles. Jury consultant who worked with the defense. In Redwood City, Howard Varinsky. The jury consultant who worked with the prosecution, And in Kansas City, Justin Falconer, the former member of the Peterson jury. He was replaced by the man who was replaced today.
Justin, you know the new foreman well. What can you tell us about him?
JUSTIN FALCONER, FRM. PETERSON JURY MEMBER: He's a good guy, strong and fair. I think he's a calming force in that room. He's a fireman, he's a paramedic, he's an athlete.
I think those are all the things you want in a leader. He's definitely probably got the vote of everybody in there. And whatever way he goes, maybe he can turn some heads and we might be hearing something pretty soon.
KING: What did you think of the jury foreman being replaced?
FALCONER: I was shocked. I can't even imagine there was anything that he did misconduct too well. I think he knows the law too well. Maybe there was an uprising against him. And he just got burned out and asked to be removed. I think that's possible. But I can't imagine he would do anything to get himself removed. I don't think he did anything wrong.
KING: Jo-Ellan, you have handled lots of juries, you ever seen anything like this? You can't have seen anything like this.
JO-ELLEN DIMITRIUS, JURY CONSULTANT: Not during deliberations. I've seen it during O.J. prior to deliberations. But never during deliberations have you seen this many people go off, maybe one juror, maybe two in a really long deliberation. But nothing like this.
KING: What do you make of it?
DIMITRIUS: Well, I think -- I know as a fact that there was an issue with this gentleman starting on Monday. So, clearly it has evolved. KING: What kind of issue?
DIMITRIUS: That he had actually asked to be excused on Monday. So, clearly it had evolved to the point today where whatever reason he was utilizing, the judge felt, and the attorneys felt it was appropriate to release him.
KING: This is beginning, Howard, to look a little bit like Keystone Cops. This juror who wants to be removed. We got an idea, let's make him foreman. Is that what we're seeing here, he wants to get off the jury, let's put him in charge of the jury.
HOWARD VARINSKY, JURY CONSULTANT: The new foreman didn't want off the jury.
KING: No. The foreman they just threw off.
VARINSKY: Yes. And I don't think he wanted off when he became him foreman. But I want to say something about foreman, I mean, sometimes when you look at jurors, you talk to them afterward, you ask how did the foreman get elected. Say, well, he volunteered, or no one else wanted it. Or well, the smokers went out of the room and he was the only one -- you hear all kinds of stories about people getting elected. It doesn't necessarily mean that they epitomize a leader, or they take a strong leadership role.
KING: Doesn't it appear to you, Howard, that this jury is divided? Something's wrong?
VARINSKY: Something's wrong in that we're seeing more jurors exit in less than a week than the combination of all the years Jo- Ellan and I have been in this business, over 50 years of jury consulting business, neither one of us have ever seen anything like this.
KING: Justin, what do you make of it? You served on the jury, the first one to leave. What's going on?
FALCONER: You know, I think there's a lot of division in that room and I think maybe it's starting to take a toll on them. If it was beating down on this guy that he wanted out on Monday, what's that say about what's going on in there?
You have to wonder why he'd want out so bad. After five months you would be invested, especially after 19 notebooks. I mean, that alone would make me want to finish deliberation. But -- it's hard to say, but I think it's going to be interesting. I think we're going to hear something over the next couple of days. I think this is going to be interesting.
KING: What's your best guess, Nancy? By the way, I understand they have ordered the boat removed? Is that right?
GRACE: That's right. There has been an order signed by the San Mateo County Sheriff to tow the boat. I don't know if Geragos is going to move it off his property on his own. But I know they will tow it if he doesn't.
As far as this jury goes, Larry, this is not the last chapter. I think based on everyone heading to the courtroom today, that there is more jury upheaval to come. So this is not the last chapter.
What does it mean? It is unusual. I've lost two jurors on open jury. I don't recall losing three jurors in 1 jury. But remember, we still have three alternates left, so it ain't over yet.
KING: And Chuck, they don't meet tomorrow, so they go back to their motel, tomorrow's a holiday. So, does this continue? They're not even allowed to talk about it, right?
SMITH: They're not allowed to talk about it, in small groups or otherwise. But Larry, if I may, I thought Vinnie's comment about how this new foreperson was chosen after 32 hours with him, and Justin's comments about Justin's perception that this guy's a leader, I'm dying to know what Howard and Jo Dimitrius say about where did they rate this guy?
Did Jo-Ellan think he was a defense guy? Did Howard think he was a prosecution guy? That's they job. What can they tell us about where this foreperson is going to lead this jury?
DIMITRIUS: From the defense perspective, during voir dire, we learned from him that he had had discussion with the captain of his particular fire station in which the captain said he thought that Scott was guilty and should hang by his toes. And basically, this fellow apparently said to him, what about reasonable doubt? What about assuming somebody's innocent until proven guilty? And he, to me, that showed a sign of authority that he would take on the person who is really the boss in this situation.
KING: Howard, what was your read on him? You said OK. Howard, what did you like about him?
VARINSKY: I said OK. I liked the fact that -- you were talking about the new person?
VARINSKY: The boater, correct?
KING: The new head of the jury. The fireman.
VARINSKY: I thought that he has the profile of somebody that would tend to vote prosecution much more often than defense. In that sense, he didn't rate somebody to kick off the jury. He didn't rise to that level.
KING: Thank you all very much. You'll be back Friday night.
DIMITRIUS: I will. KING: And we'll see you again Friday night, Howard. And I imagine, Justin, we'll see you again Friday night to discuss the next juror tossed off. If you don't see some sense of humor in this, folks, we're all going to lose it. We'll be back with Chris, Chuck, Trent, Vinnie, and Nancy and take some phone calls. And then we'll meet Dr. Andrew Weil. Maybe he can analyze it. Don't go away.
KING: Our panel's back with us again. They'll all be back on Friday. Mystic, Connecticut, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. My question is -- I have a two-part question. One, how many alternates are there? Are we going to run out? And two, can't the jury request to deliberate over the weekend?
PIXLEY: I don't think we will run out. We have six alternates now down to three. Yes, they can request to deliberate over the weekend. And it's anybody guess what Judge Delucchi would have to say to them. I think it's interesting they haven't requested to deliberate tomorrow. They may just want the break.
KING: Why not request it, Trent? Get it over with.
COPELAND: I'm surprised frankly like Chris, Larry, that they haven't requested to work Thursday day and frankly I'm surprised and I've been surprised all along that they haven't asked for longer hours. Working as they have been, Larry, with an hour and a half lunch break quitting at the end of the day 4:00 is a pretty short day for jurors to deliberate.
KING: Vinnie, what's your guess, why not?
POLITAN: One thing is you get a message from the judge and this is a judge that doesn't necessarily want to stay on the weekends and stay past 4:00. It's a tough call because if now you're going to stay overtime, you bring the sheriff's deputies in and everyone has to be ready to go and cost the county even more money. So there are a lot of reasons why they may not want to do it, and they're putting in some hours. They're getting there 8:00 in the morning. You're locked in a room with the same people for that many hours, maybe you just want to get out at the end of the day.
KING: Nancy, what do you think?
GRACE: Well, I know that tomorrow being a holiday the sheriffs, the personnel would all be being paid double time or time and a half. It's a huge burden. And from what I've learned from my sources in the courthouse, this county still hasn't gotten a check from Modesto, who's supposed to be footing the bill. So long story short, I think it's a big money issue and they're trying to cut the bill.
KING: Chuck, why can't they meet at the motel in a conference room? SMITH: That's what I always thought, Larry, too. Why not ask to meet at the hotel after dinner for a few hours? I listen to my colleagues, all of whom are high energy, Type A type people, we'd all go nuts. So it's hard for any of us to understand why aren't they asking for more deliberation time. Hard to figure out.
KING: Cambleton, Newfoundland. Hello.
CALLER: My question is for Nancy Grace. Last night I believe she said the juror that was replaced today was pro-state. I was just wondering what she thought today that he is replaced now, does she think this is a bad day for the prosecution?
GRACE: I tell you what, you're talking about the foreperson, the new juror number 5. I thought that he had indicated he was pro-state. The doctor/lawyer who took voluminous notes, 19 notebooks in all. I always thought back on six, who is now the new foreperson, and I looked at him throughout the state's case. He was so interested in his cuticles and his fingernails. He paid no attention whatsoever. But then I saw him in Geragos' closing argument, he didn't pay any attention to him either. Long story short maybe he's right down the middle and he was more concerned about his cuticles than either side. Can't call it on the firefighter. But I always loved having firefighters and police officers on my jury. And I can tell you this much, I had judges make me try cases over Veteran's Day. So I'm a little surprised they're not going forward but it is a big money issue.
KING: Prestonsburg, Kentucky. Hello.
CALLER: If this becomes a hung jury, will Scott Peterson be able to -- will he be able to get out of jail or will he be...
KING: Chris, will they give him bail if it's a hung jury?
PIXLEY: No. Not unless the first-degree murder charges are dropped against him. He would be up for bail then if it was only a second degree case. That's not going to happen. If there's a hung jury, Chuck and I have disagreed on this. If there's a hung jury and it's 11-1 for acquittal, I still think he'll be retried and he'll stay in the county jail and they'll go forward.
KING: Trent, what if they poll the jury and they find they threw away first-degree murder, no one went for that, 7 were for second degree murder and five for acquittal, would you give him bail? Charge him with second degree?
Hey, I'm thinking.
COPELAND: If you're trying to find way to resolve the case, Larry...
KING: I'm trying to settle it.
GRACE: He's brokering a deal.
COPELAND: I suppose maybe it would do. I don't think this prosecution will do that. I think politically it would be unwise for them to do it, I don't think it's politically expedient. I don't think they will. I think they'll try this case and I think always as a first-degree murder case.
KING: Vinnie, it's impossible to forecast what's going to happen Friday, isn't it?
POLITAN: It's absolutely impossible to forecast this. And this is what we do for a living, Nancy Grace and I. We watch these trials and try to figure out what's going on. And you can never predict. But we've never seen anything this chaotic. What that tells me is that it's even more unpredictable. Because we don't know if another juror will get kicked off, if they're going to hang, if they're all in agreement. We don't know where they are. This is so tough. We are not getting the substance of the notes that they're sending out. Sometimes you can read between the lines of the notes that the jury sends out. But that's all taking place in secret so we really are pretty clueless on this one, Larry.
KING: Well, see you all Friday. Thanks again. And when we come back, Dr. Andrew Weil. He's not a psychiatrist but maybe he can help. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You must accept and follow the law as I state it to you regardless of whether you agree with it. If anything concerning the law said about by the attorneys in their arguments or at any other time during the trial conflicts with my instructions on the law, you must follow my instructions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: It's always a great pleasure to welcome Dr. Andrew Weil to LARRY KING LIVE. Frequent guest, leader and pioneer in the field of integrated medicine. The "New York Time's" best selling author. His books include "The Healthy Kitchen," and "8 Weeks to Optimism Health." He's editorial director of drweil.com. And before we get into some current things, he has a new business venture, licensing agreements through Weil Lifestyle -- Weil Lifestyle LLC.
What is that?
DR. ANDREW WEIL, AUTHOR: Well, this is a company that is developing new products and service for customers who are interested in integrative medicine and integrative health. All my profits from that are going to go into a non-profit foundation, the Weil Foundation, whose purpose is to fund integrative medical efforts around the country. And the agreements we have so far, one is for vitamin distribution with a company called ANS here in the U.S. and Jamieson Quest in Canada, with a division of Estee Lauder called Origins to develop natural skin and haircare products, with a division of Purina called Pet Promise, that's making the only pet food out there that's free of rendered meat products.
KING: How does the public get more information?
WEIL: Through my Web site, drweil.com. And also the Weil Foundation has a Web site, weilfoundation.org. I urge people to find out about one.
KING: And your profits go to what?
WEIL: All my profits from the sells of these products go into the foundation. And the purpose of that foundation. The foundation will fund integrative medicine efforts around the country. You know, there's a lot of the graduates at the program at the University of Arizona are now out there running clinics and teaching on their own. All these efforts around the country are struggling for funds. So, I set this up as way of trying to develop a funding mechanism.
KING: Would you define for those who don't know what integrative medicine?
WEIL: My pleasure. It is a healing oriented medicine. That means, we try to work with the body's natural healing capacity, that takes account of the whole person. So, it's not just looking at physical bodies, also at mental, emotional, spiritual aspect of human beings. We emphasize the therapeutic relationship between the practitioner and patient. And we make use all appropriate therapies, both conventional therapies and alternative therapies.
KING: You don't discount pharmaceuticals?
WEIL: Absolutely not. When appropriate, I think they're often the best methods we have. But as we've seen with Vioxx, and the news today about a relative of that, these are not benign, a lot of these drugs. So they have to be used judicially when their really indicated.
KING: And you're a Harvard trained MD?
WEIL: I am.
KING: Who discovered this during in medical school.
WEIL: Actually before. Because my undergraduate degree at Harvard was in botany. So, I began studying medicinal plants and that's been a life long career interest of mine.
KING: Plants that help us?
WEIL: Absolutely. And I'm (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in natural alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs. There's a lot of them out there. And there's a lot study of them going on.
KING: You believe the body can heal itself? WEIL: Cut your finger and you watch it heal. The body can heal itself. Absolutely. And I think, good medicine begins with that premise that the body can heal itself, and you want to find out how to jog it along.
KING: What happened to Vioxx?
WEIL: Well, I think that these -- first of all, I think that drug was very widely promoted, often, in ways that weren't appropriate. There are perfectly good older generation anti- inflammatory drugs, like Ibuprofen, that are cheaper and more available, but the advertisements for that drug made a lot of patients want it. And you know, many of these new drugs, they're potent. And we often don't see their downside until there's wider clinical experience with it. I think that, in general, I'm very conservative in the use of drug therapies. I like to use drugs that have been around for a while and prove their safety.
KING: Do you dislike prescription drugs advertising, which is fairly new?
WEIL: I think the strategy of direct advertising to customers has been the most successful strategies the companies have come up with. I think it's a disaster for the medical practice, because now you have patients going in to doctors and demanding a drug, Vioxx being an example, when an older cheaper drug would have been just as good.
KING: But under the first amendment they have a right to?
WEIL: They do. But, you know, this not done in other countries. And I think this has been really disastrous for medical practice.
KING: What was the other drug that got in trouble.
WEIL: The one that you heard about today, called Bextra (ph). It's similar, it's in the same class and the same kind of problems, increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
KING: Is this Merck's fault?
WEIL: I think it's the fault of the system that we've got, which maybe doesn't test these things as extensively as they should. I would say, it also goes back to the lack of education of physicians and patients about alternatives. For example, we often at our clinic at the University of Arizona, put people on an anti-inflammatory diet. You can control inflammatory disorders by changing how you eat. By eating the right kind of fats, the omega 3 fats and avoiding these processed fats that are in a lot of junk food that's out there. By adding natural products like ginger an turmeric to the diet, which you can take as supplements or after food. We see very good results with just dietary changes alone without even getting a drug.
KING: When ever he's with us, he's usually with us for an hour. But because of the Peterson matter, he's with us for an half hour. We always like to have him back for the full hour. We'll take calls in a little while for Dr. Weil. And any information you want for these vitamins or any other products involved, it's drweil.com. Drweil, one word, right?
KING: D-R-W-E-I-L.com, for any information you want. OK, what about the flu vaccine?
WEIL: Well, you know, there's a disaster this year in the manufacture of it. And I think it's going to force us to do better about vaccine manufacturing and distribution procedures. But the flu vaccine isn't the answer to everything. You know, it's crap shoot each year as to whether they get the strains right that are in the vaccine. Last year we didn't do such a good job, so a significant number of people who got the vaccine got the flu. Same probably might have happened this year. And there is a lot of primary things -- preventive things you can do to lower your risk of getting the flu, starting with not being around people who are actively sick and making sure you wash your hands in public.
KING: That's the biggest (UNINTELLIGIBLE). The hands do it, right?
WEIL: That's the biggest. And I think if your on airplanes or in public places, using alcohol wipes that's very effective way of disinfection. The flu virus can persist on intimate objects like doorknobs for a period of time. You can get it from that. So, washing hands, sanitizing hands, getting plenty of rest.
KING: The vaccine -- a lot of it's not made in the United States because it's not profitable?
WEIL: Right. This batch this year that got contaminated was made in the United Kingdom. I think there going to be changes in that and I hope we do better next year. People should know if you do get the flu, there are ways, both natural and pharmaceutical for dealing with it. But you want to think in advance how you're going to do this. Because the pharmaceutical drugs have to be taken within 36 hours of symptoms.
KING: There some very effective ones.
WEIL: There are. You have to have -- yes, you want to have an action plan for how you're going to get that, because there's that window of time in which you have to take it.
KING: Some people get a prescription for it and hold it.
WEIL: Exactly. Exactly. But, you know, there some natural things out there as well. There's an extract of black elderberry called Sambucol.
KING: Get that at a health food store? WEIL: Yes, any health food or drugstore has it as well. Something I recommend to people, and this is by the way good for colds, essential oil of Thyme, the culinary herb.
WEIL: T-H-Y-M-E. It's a powerful anti-bacteria agent. You can put it in water or a vaporizer and inhale the steam. It's a good way to reduce the risk of getting a secondary bacterial infection if you've got a virus like a severe cold or flu.
KING: The vaccine itself, though, works when it's right, though, right?
WEIL: It works when it's right. And by the way, there is also this live virus vaccine that you take with a nasal spray now.
KING: They don't recommend that for certain age groups, though.
WEIL: The reason being, since it's a live virus, the older age group there's a higher risk of getting a reaction from the vaccine. The other question about that, is that when you take it, for a few days afterwards, you are spewing out flu virus. So, you don't want to be around people who are really vulnerable, such as people who are debilitated or otherwise sick.
KING: We'll be right back with Dr. Andrew Weil. Any information about the licensing, and the vitamins and all the distribution he's involved with and the profits going to the foundation, drweil.com. We'll be back with your calls right after this.
KING: His most recent books, by the way, include "The Healthy Kitchen" and "Eight Weeks To Optimum Health." He's Dr. Weil. He's editorial director of DrWeil.com. Let's go to your calls.
CALLER: Yes, good evening. Thank you for taking my call. My question to Dr. Weil is that I was just diagnosed with my left descending artery as having quite a bit of plaque on it and he wants to do an angiogram and then he said you probably won't get by just with that and you'll probably have angioplasty or bypass to contend with. And I don't agree with him. I think -- there's a book out there called "Reversing Heart Disease Without Surgery," but in that book, it's a really hard...
KING: What's the question? Why don't you take the angiogram just to know?
WEIL: First of all, I don't know how this was diagnosed. Was it diagnosed from one of these total body -- it might have been diagnosed as one of these total body scans where you get a calcium score. That test does not endorse...
KING: What's wrong with an angiogram?
WEIL: It's an invasive test but it is the definitive test.
KING: It ain't painful.
WEIL: But it's a definitive way to find out what the flow through the artery is. There are indeed ways of reversing coronary blockage, it depends on the severity of it.
KING: You can reverse the blockage?
WEIL: Through lifestyle change you can reverse that process of atherosclerosis. That's been well demonstrated. You can do that both through lifestyle change...
KING: Should she take an angiogram though?
WEIL: Absolutely. I would certainly recommend doing it.
KING: Embryonic stem cell research?
WEIL: I'm all for it. And this is one of the most promising frontiers of medical research. I have heard, I am aware of the objections to it. The fact is that this is the best promise of developing cures for some of the most serious diseases that are out there. A good one is juvenile diabetes. And there is a possibility of using adult stem cells, for some of these conditions which avoid the problem of embryos but a lot of organs in the pancreas is one of them don't have adult stem cells and the only option there is to use embryonic cells.
KING: Alzheimer's, too?
WEIL: Parkinson's, possibly Alzheimer's. I think -- you're talking about the body healing itself. This is really zeroing in on the potential of the body to generate tissue by harnessing these embryonic cells.
KING: It ain't a prescription.
KING: To Los Angeles. Hello.
CALLER: Yes, Dr. Weil, I'd like to ask you two questions. I might be a suspect for glaucoma. I want to know if there's anything I can do about it. And secondly, what do you do for genital herpes?
WEIL: For glaucoma, this is really a matter for conventional medicine. The surgical treatments for the acute form are the definitive ways of dealing with that and I really don't alternatives except for as you may have read, marijuana, which lowers intraocular pressure but the drawback of that is it has to be given quite frequently. Maybe they will develop analogs of the drugs in marijuana that might work for that. For genital herpes, there are pharmaceutical drugs that suppress it, that are effective, they have to be taken all the time and they are expensive. There is a natural product that I'd recommend experimenting with, it's called Lauricidin. I looked this up on the Internet. It's a fatty acid which is non-toxic. There are some very good clinical reports that significantly shortens attacks and lowers the frequency of attacks.
KING: Chicago, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Dr. Weil. I'm on 75 milligrams of Spironolactone, it's an androgen blocker for androgenetic alopecia. What's your opinion on this?
KING: Also what is she talking about?
WEIL: She's talking about a form of baldness that's caused by a hormonal imbalance.
KING: Do you use it?
WEIL: I have the inherited form and I do not use it. I like my head the way it is. She has a hormonal imbalance which is being treated with a strong drug. The only thing I'd suggest to you there, this may sound out of left field. I'd good to a good clinical hypnotherapist and just experiment to see whether through a mind-body intervention you can change that condition.
KING: Are you open to anything like even the Chinese...
WEIL: I'm open to anything but then I want to see proof of it.
KING: What am I talking about?
WEIL: Acupuncture. There is an NIH consensus panel that has indicated that acupuncture is effective for a whole list of conditions. I don't think that's very controversial anymore.
KING: Ever going to cure migraines?
WEIL: We have some good treatments for it and there's a lot that can be done to prevent migraines. By dietary change, by use of natural products like vitamin B2, riboflavin, there's an interesting herb called butterbur that looks effective for reducing frequency of migraine. Biofeedback training can help.
KING: Kingston, Ontario, hello.
CALLER: Good evening, I'd like to find out if Dr. Weil agrees that fibromyalgia and chronic pain are the same thing and what he would recommend for both of them or any of them?
WEIL: I would say that fibromyalgia is a subset of chronic pain syndrome. This is the condition where it hurts all over and we really don't understand what it is. It affects a lot of people. Women are affected more often than men. It's often associated with a sleep disturbance. I think it's very important to try to correct that sleep disturbance. This is a condition where physical activity is very beneficial. This is one area where you want to tell people to move through the pain that it really is beneficial to be physically active. Conventional doctors are baffled by this disease, our rheumatology clinic at the University of Arizona has refused to see patients with fibromyalgia because they find them so frustrating to deal with.
KING: There are pain clinics, though, aren't there?
WEIL: There are pain clinics and chronic pain is a huge problem in this country. Again, lots of ways of dealing with it including acupuncture and mind-body approaches like hypnosis.
KING: Carthage, Texas.
CALLER: This is east Texas. Greetings to you and Dr. Weil.
KING: On the way to Shreveport.
CALLER: That's right. You have a lot of fans here. I want to ask Dr. Weil. I am an 81-year-old great-grandmother. And I have been taking Premarin since 1975 following my hysterectomy. With all the scares and all about Premarin, I wondered if Dr. Weil thinks I should discontinue it?
WEIL: I certainly do. First of all...
KING: What's Premarin?
WEIL: Premarin is the horse estrogen that we gave to an awful lot of women at menopause, to reduce menopausal symptoms. Even, first of all, you shouldn't be taking this up to age 81. I think even if you do decide to get hormone replacement at menopause it should be for a limited period of time.
KING: Is there a danger in taking it?
WEIL: I think there are dangers. I think it increases cancer risk. And also the horse estrogen is not the same as human estrogen. And if women are going to take hormone replacement, I only suggest that they take what are called bioidenticals (ph).
KING: Is Premarin still widely used?
WEIL: I think much less so than before and I think we realized the downside of maintaining women on these hormones for a long time.
KING: Dr. Weil has licensing agreements with Estee Lauder's Origins, Natural Resources, Pet Promises, Arizona Nutritional Supplements, and the Jamieson Laboratories. Want more information, DrWeil.com. Back with more after this.
KING: Someone in the control room wants to know if there's any interaction between SSRI's and synthroids. WEIL: There could be. You know SSRI's are the antidepressants and synthroid is the thyroid replacement hormone. It's possible, because thyroid hormone can affect mood. So anybody that's overseeing that patient, you want to check the possible interaction.
KING: Vitamin E good?
WEIL: Well, there were stories all over the news today about vitamin E being harmful and increasing risk of death. I wouldn't stop taking vitamin E, but I would keep to the correct dosage range, which is under 400 international units a day.
This study that was reported was what's called a metaanalysis. They didn't actually give vitamin E to anybody, they were doing statistical analysis of previous research. I think that kind of study can only raise questions, it can't answer them. I wouldn't worry about it.
KING: There seems to be a study everyday.
WEIL: And often with contradictory results. So, I think, the problem is you want to find medical authorities or health experts that you can trust who can help you interpret this stuff.
KING: Are you into the low carb thing?
WEIL: I think that it is very important to eat the right kinds of carbs, meaning not the highly refined kinds and to not go overboard with them, yes.
KING: London, Ontario, hello.
CALLER: Thank you for taking my call. I'm calling about my husband. He has been a smoker for years and he keeps trying to stop. But his problem is when he does stop when he has sex, he gets severe headaches. It doesn't matter -- like, if he's working, never had any headaches. But as soon as he has sex, he gets severe headaches.
KING: And you associate it with stopping smoking?
CALLER: As soon as he stops smoking again, it's gone.
WEIL: I've never heard that before, but smoking certainly changes circulatory dynamics. So, this could be a vascular headache. I would think that, however, that stopping smoking is more important. And that if he...
KING: Not for her.
WEIL: If he persists through that, that should go away. That should be a temporary effect.
KING: Osage Beach, Missouri, hello.
CALLER: Hi. Thanks for taking my call. My question is, I have had three miscarriages. And I'm currently taking a prescription medicine called Clomid to help control my estrogen level. And I was wondering if there's anything that I could get, or he would recommend that might help with this, because so far the medication has been unsuccessful.
WEIL: OK. I'll give you 2 recommendations. This is one of the fertility drugs. And it's often one the first interventions that is done. But I'm going to give you 2 suggestions. I would continue to work with the reproductive doctors you're working with, but I would also find a good practitioner of Chinese medicine to work with. Chinese medicine is often very successful with fertility issues. And I would use some kind of a mind-body approach working with a clinical hypnotherapist or guided imaging practitioner. Use those things in addition to what you're doing with the fertility doctor.
KING: Louisville, Kentucky, hello.
CALLER: Yes. I was wondering what the doctor thinks about natural therapy for the treatment of cancer.
WEIL: I don't think there are any natural therapies for the treatment of cancer that are reliably effective for large numbers of people, even though you can find individual case reports. But I think there are a great many natural therapies that can be useful adjuncts to conventional therapy that can help lower toxicity of chemotherapy or radiation therapy, improve general health, improved appetite and improved quality of life.
KING: We ever going to cure it?
WEIL: I think that the research being done on immunotherapy, gene therapy, antiangiogenesis therapy, I think all these things look more promising to me than our current approaches.
KING: Bermington, Vermont. Last call, quickly.
CALLER: Hi, Dr. Weil. I was wondering if there's any treatment that can help lung damage caused by scar tissue?
WEIL: I think once you've lost lung tissue and it's replaced by fibrous scar tissue, that tissue is gone. So what you want to do is do everything possible to preserve the health of the remaining lung and stop whatever process was producing that damage.
KING: We're almost out of time. Is there an age where things start going down?
WEIL: Well, I think the age usually given is somewhere around 60. And I think most people experience between 50 and 60 things start to change. That doesn't mean a rapid downhill slide. And the book that I'm writing about healthy aging is all about that. It'll be out next year. Good to see you again.
KING: More information Drandrewweil.com. I'll be back to tell you about tomorrow night right after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KING: There's no Peterson hearing tomorrow, no trial, no nothing. Although, one of the jurors may do something. So, Dr. Phil will be our guest tomorrow night.
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