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Drug Fails for Alzheimer's; Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is Interviewed about her Re-Election; LGBTQ Rights in Qatar as World Cup Starts. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired November 15, 2022 - 06:30   ET




DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Well, this is disappointing. It's a setback in finding a treatment for those suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Results from a study of an experimental treatment shows that it failed to help people at high risk of memory loss from Alzheimer's, or those who were in the early phases of the disease. Alzheimer's affects 55 million people globally with one in ten Americans over 65 suffering from dementia.

Joining us now is CNN medical correspondent Dr. Tara Narula.

Good morning to you.


LEMON: What did the results show?

NARULA: Well, it wasn't - it wasn't good news, really. And so, this was a global study that looked at about 1,900 patients who were given a subcutaneous injection of a drug called, I'm going to say this, gantanernmab, which is a monoclonal antibody that targets amyloid plax (ph) in the brain and tries to remove them. We've seen studies like this before on different types of drugs and, unfortunately, it did not meet what we call its primary end point, which was to show a significant reduction in cognitive decline. It also did not show as much promise in terms of the amount of amyloid that it was able to remove from the brain.

So really disappointing. Roche, which is the drugmaker, you know, expressed their disappointment but also their hope that this adds data to the field which, you know, we've seen a lot of setbacks in terms of these Alzheimer's drugs.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: What I'm wondering, and probably so many people at home this morning is, why is it so hard to find an effective treatment for Alzheimer's? That seems to be the one that's almost hardest.

NARULA: It is. And we really haven't had a new drug since 2003 until the approval of Aduhelm, which came last year. And even that was surrounded with controversy.


NARULA: It's such a complex disease. And we were just talking about it. I mean it's heartbreaking, right? People lose the essence of themselves. It's heartbreaking for the patient, for the family. And I think we need really a multifaceted approach to try to target different aspects of the disease. This is really -- these drugs -- this class has really been targeting removing that plaque from the brain. And what we really haven't definitively proved is, is the plaque a marker of the disease, right?


Something that we see in patients but removing is not going to have much of an impact? Or is it something where if we take that plaque away can actually improve someone's prognosis? There is a trial that's underway to actually look at giving those patients who are genetically at risk of really Alzheimer's one of these drugs before they ever show symptoms in their 20s. And I think that will provide a lot of great information.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Right. So there is some hope because I know the -

NARULA: There is hope.

COLLINS: The World Health Organization says 55 million people worldwide have dementia. A lot of that is Alzheimer's.


COLLINS: There are two others that are working on a - two other companies that are working on a drug to help treat it potentially.

NARULA: Yes, and another one that's expected to have data in 2023.

And we recently talked about one actually a couple weeks ago, a different drug, that did show promise, about a 27 percent reduction in cognitive decline. So there is hope.

HARLOW: Before you go, very quickly.


HARLOW: We teased the good news on lung cancer.


HARLOW: What can you tell us?

NARULA: The good news is that five-year survival for lung cancer went up to about 25 percent from 21 percent.


HARLOW: Great.

NARULA: Like, the result of research and treatments. The bad news, Poppy, is that we're not screening nearly as much as we should. So, 14.5 million Americans at risk for lung cancer, about 5.8 percent are getting screened. That's as low as 1 percent in certain states like California. We know that early screening can save lives. If you pick up the cancer early, your survival can be over 60 percent. Forty-four percent of people are caught in late stages. Guess what the survival is at that point? Seven percent.

So, we really need to get the word out about annual screening in those people who are at risk. Those are people who are 50 to 80, who have a 20-pack year history, who are either current smokers or have quit in the last 15 years.

I just had a patient ask me this yesterday, and it's so easy, it's an annual low-dose chest CT scan.


LEMON: Yes. Wow.

NARULA: Very simple.

LEMON: So, get your checkup. Go to the doctor.

NARULA: Please. Yes.

LEMON: Thank you. Thank you. We really appreciate it.

HARLOW: Thank you, Doctor.

COLLINS: Thank you.

LEMON: So, said was said to be the most endangered and coveted (ph) Democrat in the midterms, but Catherine Cortez Masto turned the tables and helped Democrats hold the Senate. Our CNN THIS MORNING interview, next.

Plus this.


ROBERTA FLACK, MUSICIAN (singing): Strumming my pain with his finger. Singing my life with his words. Killing me softly with his song. Killing me softly with his song. Telling my whole life with his words. Killing me softly.


HARLOW: That voice, beloved Grammy-winning singer Roberta Flack, now 85, and in the fight of her life. Why she now says it's impossible for her to sing.



COLLINS: All right, with her victory in Nevada, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto ensured that Democrats maintained control of the Senate in what was one of the closest watched races in the country. Cortez Masto was one of -- considered one of the most vulnerable Democrat senators. We spoke with her about beating those odds.

Here's our conversation.


COLLINS: Obviously, your race, you were considered the most endangered incumbent Democratic senator. But with your victory, you helped Democrats hold on to the Senate and defy these Republican expectations about the Senate. What was the message that you think voters sent by re-electing you?

SEN. CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO (D-NV): You know, just, I'm third generation Nevadan. And I grew up in this community, in this state. My family, hard-working members of the community here. And I think it's -- what I know is just getting out and talking to voters. To me it's all about working families. Making sure we're fighting for them always. And - and I think that that's an important message for so many people to understand in Nevada. People are looking for individuals that know what their struggles are, that are willing to fight for them, that they know, they trust. They trust their values principles. They know their background.

And, you know, for me it was - it was just easy to get in and just talk to people. And that's what I loved about it is just the opportunity to talk with them and - and listen to their issues that - that matter to them and let them know that I understood because this is my background, my family grew up here, and I'm willing to stand with them and fight for them every single day.

COLLINS: And one of their biggest issues, of course, is inflation. You know, gas prices, rent prices are higher in Nevada than almost anywhere else in the United States. What is your plan, now that you are re-elected, to have this Democratic-controlled Senate address inflation in a way that makes a difference to your voters?

MASTO: Well, you know, Nevada, we were so hard-hit by the pandemic, right? At the height of the pandemic we were 30 percent unemployment and then we've gotten that down to less than 5 percent. But there's still absolutely what I hear from not only Nevadans, but my own family, is --and I see it when I'm grocery shopping or filling up my gas tank, we still have those high prices. So, that is a priority to lower those costs, to lower the gas prices, to make sure we have housing that people really can afford, whether they are rentals or they're first-time home buyers. We still have housing prices that are too high.

So, there is work to be done, and my focus and my legislation already is around lowering -- continuing to lower those costs. You know, we've done it already with the Inflation Reduction Act. And that gave me the ability to talk about how we can work together and show that we can get it done if we just put our heads together and we work together.

You know, I think at the end of the day it's for everybody to focus on lowering these costs, and that's what I talk to Nevadans about. You know, we -- we lowered health care costs around prescription drugs and for the first time we capped the cost of insulin. We were lowering energy costs for so many families and homeowners. But there's more work to be done. And Nevadans get that. And they were looking for somebody that - that really understands those issues and is willing to stand up for them and take those -- that fight to Washington.

COLLINS: Well, another issue that seemed to be top of mind for them was abortion. Do you think abortion helped pull you over the finish line in this race?

MASTO: Well, I can tell you, as I went around the state talking to Nevadans, it was the kitchen table issues. But, absolutely, was the repeal of Roe v. Wade a concern for Nevadans? Yes, because Nevada's a pro-choice state. Nevadans, the voters, decided in 1990 to codify Roe v. Wade in this state.


And there was outrage across the state from so many -- not just Democrats, Republicans, non-partisans, women, men. Everybody that I talked to were just outraged and want to protect the right of women in this state, really, to make that decision themselves and leave that as a decision for women, their doctors or whoever they decide, but it is an important decision of pro-choice for women to make and have freedom that so many Nevadans believe in.

COLLINS: You're also the first Latina senator. With your re-election do you think it was Latino voters who helped block that expected Republican red wave?

MASTO: Well, here's what I know. I grew up in this community. And our Latino community is just thriving and growing beautifully. And they do come out to vote. And they are looking for somebody that really understands. That understands the issues that matter to them. And it's no different than any other family. It's a good-paying job, right? It's a roof over their head. Access to health care that they can afford. Safe communities. Want to make sure their communities and their children are safe. And so it's a community you just -- you can't take for granted but you've got to show up and have conversations. To me, this is my community. So, to get in and talk to them and talk about my background where, you know, my grandfather came from Tiwawa (ph), Mexico. My grandmother from Las Cruces, New Mexico to Nevada in the '40s when my father was only five years olds. They wanted that better life. And they worked hard. And that's no different than any of the Latino families here who are incredible entrepreneurs or want a better life for their kids as well.

COLLINS: And do you think Democrats are doing enough right now with outreach to that community, as important as you said it is?

MASTO: I think we have -- we can't take any community for granted. And we have to not only constantly outreach, but we have to follow-up, and we have to engage and talk to them and listen to the issues that matter to them.

You know, people forget in Nevada, we also have one of the fastest growing AAPI communities. I have a large Filipino population here. And I think it is important that we're always talking and engaging and listening to the issues that matter to them and letting them know who's going to stand buy their side and fight for them and their families.

COLLINS: CNN called this race for you on Saturday night. Obviously, it was a major projection given what it signified for Democrats. Have you heard from your Republican challenger, Adam Laxalt, yet to concede the race?

MASTO: No, I have not.

COLLINS: Do you - do you expect that you will hear from him?

MASTO: It's going to be up to Adam.

COLLINS: It's going to be up to Adam, obviously.

Former President Trump recently came to your state to rally with him. He had endorsed Adam Laxalt. Do you think that visit turned any voters off of Adam Laxalt and had them vote for you instead?

MASTO: You know, I can only tell you, as I was talking to so many Nevadans, I was proud to have not only the support of Democrats, but many Republicans who had the courage to come forward and support me, and non-partisans. So, I was just honored to have just that diverse support from so many Nevadans across this state.

COLLINS: My last question for you, I know you're going to be heading back to Washington soon. There is a lot to do there and there's about to be this lame duck period before January. Do you want to see action on the debt ceiling in this lame duck period?

MASTO: I will tell you, absolutely. Like every other family, we have to manage the budget, and we should. But there is -- there are a number of issues that I've just talked about, lowering costs for families around the high gas prices and housing.

And I'll tell you the other thing that I have talked about is this idea that we should be doing something to ensure that dreamers and TPS recipients and so many that are already in our communities, that were on the front lines, essential workers of the pandemic, that are entrepreneurs, they want to be a part of our communities, we put them on a pathway to citizenship. We can do that. We can - we can still have strong borders. And I know this because as the attorney general I fought for those strong borders and have continued to as a senator to address the drug trafficking and the weapons trafficking and human trafficking cross that southern border.

But we can still focus on strong borders and fix a broker immigration system that treats people with dignity. So, I'm looking forward to talking to my colleagues and trying to get something done there. I think it is so important for so many families.

COLLINS: Yes, we'll be watching closely to see what this Senate does when it comes to immigration.

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, you just won and you helped Democrats hang on to the Senate. Thank you so much for joining us this morning and spending some time with us.

MASTO: Kaitlan, thank you.


LEMON: A very good interview, Kaitlan. That was really interesting.

COLLINS: Thank you so much, Don.

HARLOW: That was great.

COLLINS: All right, a World Cup ultimatum for David Beckham over his controversial deal as an ambassador for the host country of Qatar.

LEMON: And the former first lady, Michelle Obama, opens up about losing hope after Donald Trump succeeded her husband as president in 2016.


Why she says, and I quote here, she was shook.


HARLOW: All right, welcome back.

So, the 2022 World Cup will begin Sunday in Qatar and it is putting the host nation's hostile treatment, to say the least, of members of the LGBTQ community and other minorities front and center. On this world stage, same-sex relationships are criminalized in Qatar and those who engage in consensual sexual relations there, same-sex relations, could face up to three years in prison. A recent report from the Human Rights Watch details several cases of gay people in Qatar being subjected to severe beatings and forced into conversion therapy. Qatar denies all of this.

But the United States men's national team is one of several countries showing their support for the LGBTQ community. They are using a rainbow logo at the team's practice facility to bring attention to all of these human rights abuses.

We should note that because of rules, the U.S. team can't wear that badge during the actual game.


Also this, FIFA has forbidden Denmark's national team from wearing shirts that say, quote, human rights for all, while they play in the World Cup in Qatar, saying the shirts are too political. Now, soccer icon and long-time ally of the LGBTQ community, David

Beckham, is facing some real questions, some very hard and important questions, about his role as an ambassador for this World Cup.

Listen to this message for Beckham from the openly gay British comedian Joe Lycett.


JOE LYCETT, BRITISH COMEDIAN: You're the first premiership footballer to do shoots with gay magazines like "Attitude," to speak openly about your gay friends and you married a Spice Girl, which is gayest thing a human being can do. But now it's 2022, and you've signed a reported 10 million pound deal with Qatar to be their ambassador during the FIFA World Cup.

I'm giving you a choice. If you end your relationship with Qatar, I'll donate this 10 grand of my own money, that's a grand for every million you're reportedly getting, to charities that support queer people in football. However, if you do not, at midday next Sunday, I will throw this money into a shredder just before the opening ceremony of the World Cup, not just the money, but also your status as a gay icon will be shredded.



HARLOW: Let's begin this conversation with our colleagues, co-hosts of "CNN NEWSROOM," Bianca Nobilo and Max Foster.

Guys, I mean, you know, the threw some jokes in there because he's a comedian, Spice Girls, et cetera. This is a really serious message. And I wonder if it's being echoed throughout the U.K. and if Beckham is hearing it?

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR: In sentiment, Joe Lycett, who is a prominent comedian and very politically engaged, speaks for many people within the U.K., plenty boycotting attending the World Cup in Qatar.

He also mentioned that if he did shred the 10,000 pounds that he had there in that video, that that would be a crime in the United Kingdom because it's illegal to deface or shred currency and money. And he said that it didn't matter because whatever punishment that he might receive would pale in comparison to the punishment that those who were open homosexuals would have to be subjected to in Qatar.

So, there is definitely this growing backlash and concern that we're seeing in the country. And the foreign secretary here as well has been on the receiving end of that. In fact, an openly gay lawmakers asked him in parliament why he was going to Qatar, and he said it was because he needed to ensure the security of British citizens that were there, which I'm not sure made the argument that he thought it did.

LEMON: Yes, look, it's -- as Poppy was reading the lead-in to this, you know, talking about rainbow flags and symbols. I mean it's just lip service. It's going to take a lot more than that when you consider the treatment of the LGBTQ community that is punishable in prison, that they - they are killed often. And too have, you know -- it's illegal. And look at it up on the screen. This is what LGBTQ -- members of the LGBTQ community face there. It's just -- you know, it's a tough thing because Beckham is supportive in some ways. FIFA is trying to be supportive, they say. But it all comes off as just sort of hollow and lip service unless something is really done, unless they really take a stand.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. And football, like most sport, is meant to be universal. The whole idea of the World Cup is to bring people together.

I was at an England rugby game on Saturday. They were horrified by the way FIFA has responded, not just David Beckham, how football has responded. They should be boycotting this, not just flying out with planes with a rainbow on, as you say, or the logo of the U.S. team, for example. Although a lot of people are praising that as well. They're trying to defend other footballers, or support the LGBTQ community, but they're not actually going to have much impact on what's going on in Qatar.

But then, you know, the government ministers in each country are struggling with it because you - you know, if they are saying go over there and act as you would in a liberal nation, you're asking them to go over there and break the law. It's a very sensitive matter. And I think FIFA's got a lot to answer here because they're the ones that really set up this situation by, you know, giving the World Cup to Qatar.

COLLINS: Yes. And the other issue at hand, of course, is the treatment of migrant workers in Qatar.


COLLINS: And that's been a big thing that they've been talking about.

How is Qatar responding to this influx of criticism that they're getting ahead of this?

FOSTER: I think inevitably there's a backlash. This is about promoting Qatar to the world as a modern nation and it's looking like a (INAUDIBLE) unmodern nation, isn't it?

NOBILO: Uh-huh. I mean even last week the - the Qatari ambassador to FIFA referred to homosexuality in an interview with a German broadcaster as damage in the mind. And as you rightly mentioned, the punishment for non-Muslims for homosexual activity can be up to three years or even more in jail. But, of course, under sharia law, it can be stoning to death technically.


So, there is this real concern in this country and in other, you know, liberal nations that those who are attending, the teams, but also the government representatives, that they might say they're trying to engage and encourage their values in that country.