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American Morning

Fiber & Colon Cancer; Skydive Miracle

Aired December 14, 2005 - 09:30   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Also another story we're following very closely today, Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath. Boy, you can be sure to expect some tough questions about that today. The House Committee that's looking in to the hurricane response is going to hear from two people at the center of this political storm.
AMERICAN MORNING's Bob Franken live for us on Capitol Hill.

Hey, Bob, good morning.


And these are the state and local officials who are, in the words of one committee spokesperson, on the hot seat after it's been federal officials up until now. The mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, and the governor of the state, Kathleen Blanco, will be the ones taking questions from the largely Republican members of this select committee, questions about the performance of the state and local officials. Did they adequately represent -- notify the federal government of the problems they were having? And did they respond in proper ways? Of course there's been an angry debate, particularly between the state and the federal government. There has been this release of e-mails which is bound to generate some questions today. The most recent release showed the governor's advisers suggesting that she needed to dress more appropriately, that that was an emphasis.

Of course there had been a release earlier of the federal officials and Michael Brown, the now-deposed head of FEMA and his comments about the way he dressed, seeming trivialities, except it's become part of an image war that has really caused a lot of focus on blame placing, as opposed to getting things done. A lot of people worried that all of this is bogged down into politics. The committee says it is not so, that perhaps these questions can cause better action next time, maybe even better action this time -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: We've gotten an eyeful, certainly, of those e-mails about what Governor Blanco was wearing, or should be wearing, from her people, also, from the FEMA director -- former FEMA director -- Mike Brown, as well. Then there's these e-mails from the White House that Congress has been requesting as well. What's the status on that?

FRANKEN: There are literally millions of them according to White House officials, and a Democrat who's not officially on the committee, but is complaining that there has not been full disclosure by the White House is now asking the committee chairman Tom Davis to subpoena these e-mails, saying that the White House is stonewalling. As I said, this is really sort of evolved as these things normally do, apparently, into a real political battle.

S. O'BRIEN: As these things do, as you say. Bob, thanks. Bob Franken for us this morning.


S. O'BRIEN: Conventional wisdom suggests that a diet high in fiber can reduce the risk of colon cancer. But there's a new study out, and the study says that might be a myth. Dr. Pamela Peeke is an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland. She's also the author of "Body for Life for Women." She's in Boston today.

Hey, good morning.

DR. PAMELA PEEKE, UNIV. OF MARYLAND: Hey, good morning, Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Let's talk about this study, because you know what, it goes against every single thing we have thought we knew about fiber and colon cancer. The study was really based on other studies, right? Looked at a bunch of different studies, huge number of patients overall, 13 studies, 700,000 patients. What did they find?

PEEKE: You know what they found? Honestly, if you pick it apart, they found that the people who are eating the least amount of fiber, that's less than 10 grams, definitely had a correlation with an increased risk for colon cancer. But you know, the problem was the people in between, the people at the very highest level having lots of fiber, definitely had a decrease in the risk. But everybody in between, that was the question, they really didn't find a significant correlation with colon cancer. But wait a minute. Stop. That's not all. Because you see if you look at many studies, these were 13 studies, but there was a large European study that was just published earlier this year that found that indeed you actually had a very significant decrease in colon cancer if you had fiber in your diet. So here's the deal. What's going on?

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, it's completely contradictory. Does it work or not?

PEEKE: Absolutely. Welcome to science. This is what it's all about. My gosh, raise your hand if you're confused. All right, I'm going to help eliminate the confusion right now. Number one, what kind of fiber? Not all fiber is the same. Is it soluble like fruits and vegetables? Is it insoluble like wheat fiber for instance? People aren't differentiating which one is which, and which one actually has the highest correlation.

S. O'BRIEN: All right, then differentiate. Back up to number one, differentiate for me.

PEEKE: All right, let's do it.

S. O'BRIEN: If I'm having a high-fiber diet, should I be eating lots of fruits and vegetables, or should I be going for the high-fiber cereal? Which is the one that protects me against colon cancer? PEEKE: E, all of the above. You need all of it. As it turns out, they all play very integral roles in this. Clearly the wheat fiber which is the most insoluble, which increases the rapid transit through the colon, has the highest correlation.

But they're all very helpful. Now here's another thing that they didn't take into consideration, lifestyle. Now come on. If you eat a lot of fiber and then follow it by, you know, eating half a cow and then lots of candy bars and then you don't exercise, what do you think is going to happen?

So what's happening here is we're finding out there's no one magic bullet, that you have to add fiber, which by definition is very healthy and nutrition, increases your ability to be able to prevent things like heart disease and diabetes, in addition to colon cancer.

But you know, you have to integrate it into a healthy lifestyle. We're now seeing there is no magic bullet. It's just one more element in something you have to do. Get up, exercise, do that healthy nutrition throughout the day, and make certain that you're getting well hydrated, which is another piece of the action, lots of water every day, too.

S. O'BRIEN: There was a theory that sort of the high fiber, like in the high fiber cereal, kind of scrubbed your colon as it went through. Is that true or not true?

PEEKE: Well, as it turns out there's no question that the insoluble fiber, by definition, doesn't stick around long enough to really cause any problems with inside the colon lining, and yes, you get rapid transit, and you're supposed to have a decreased risk in colon cancer.

But you want to know something, we also found out that a lot of that fiber, in addition to the soluble fiber, is indeed broken down inside the intestine, a lot more than we had thought. So there's more to it than that. That's a very simplistic way of looking at it. Again, what's the quality of the fiber? What else are you eating to augment that?

And you know, I'll give an instance -- if you want to increase rapid transit, take a walk. You know, there are lots of wonderful things here that allow you to be able to increase your colon health.

S. O'BRIEN: Interesting, I guess. You don't live in a bubble. You've got to do it all to be healthy.

PEEKE: Bottom line is, yes, eat that oatmeal. Eat that oatmeal and...

S. O'BRIEN: But not the candy bar later is the bottom line.

PEEKE: That's a thought.

S. O'BRIEN: And then get out of run. And then take your vitamins, and live a healthy lifestyle, and take care of yourself, and stop smoking and lose the 20 pounds. That's your message.

PEEKE: Amen.

S. O'BRIEN: Dr. Pamela Peeke, as always, nice to see you. Thanks for talking with us.

PEEKE: Great.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, she's got a magic bullet.

M. O'BRIEN: Sounds so simple.

S. O'BRIEN: and it sounds like a really long list of things you've got to do to be healthy.

M. O'BRIEN: All right, imagine this one if you can, you're skydiving, OK. You're plummeting, at what is it...

S. O'BRIEN: Fifty miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Terminal velocity. That doesn't sound good either. Your parachute doesn't hope the whole way, so then you pull the backup chute, and it doesn't open all the way, and suddenly you're traveling 50 miles an hour straight for an asphalt parking lot, and you start making peace with your maker, right? Well, actually, someone lived to tell the tale.

And there she is. That's Shayna Richardson. She'll tell us her amazing story just ahead.


S. O'BRIEN: Take a look at this videotape. This is from New Zealand. Watch the yellow car here hits that stand. You see that stand sort of implode. If we could stop and take it back, watch closely. There's a guy on top of that black and white stand, and you can see him fly into the air and kind of keel over backwards. He's an amateur cameraman, just a guy who takes picture of these drag races, not part of the media, got hit by that vehicle, kind of really didn't get hit head on, and kind of flipped over backwards, and that's what saved his life. He actually got away with just some minor cuts and bruises. If you keep going there, look at that.

Wow, the driver of the vehicle had to go to the hospital, and he got out of the hospital recently as well, on Sunday, just some bruises as well. And he says his $80,000 Camaro, the yellow car, is going to be checked out for any mechanical problems that might have caused that crash there. Everybody OK, in spite of just how bad it looks with those pictures there.

M. O'BRIEN: In the category of amazing survival stories we turn now to Shayna Richardson. It was, I think, her sixth solo sky dive. This was back in October, and yesterday we marveled, and this morning we marveled at the amazing videotape of her precipitous fall down to the ground in Arkansas back on October 9th, a fall that was supposed to be arrested by not one, but two parachutes that didn't quite do the job for her.

Shayna, good to have you with us. As we look at those pictures once again, we're glad you're here to tell the tale. We really are. Tell us what was going through your mind when that first parachute didn't work like you hoped.

SHAYNA RICHARDSON, SURVIVED SKYDIVING ACCIDENT: When the first canopy didn't function the way I wanted it to, I panicked, because I'd never had that problem during skydiving before. All my canopies always deployed properly and were fully functional. So I panicked, and I cut away real quick. I didn't even try to fix my main canopy, because I was told I had a guaranteed reserve. And since I didn't recognize the problem, I would have wasted a lot of altitude trying to fix something that I didn't know what the problem was.

M. O'BRIEN: Oh, OK. So now you go to what you thought was your ace in the hole, if you will, the reserve chute. What happened then?

RICHARDSON: I deployed my reserve and I looked up, and I had a hung slider. It wouldn't come down the line. I had tension knot in the line that prevented it from coming down and caused me to spin again.

M. O'BRIEN: Without getting too deep into the terminology, the slider is something that allows it to unfurl properly? Is that what it is?

RICHARDSON: Yes. It separates the lines out so that the canopy can properly inflate with air.

M. O'BRIEN: OK. So then you're faced with a dramatic situation, to say the least, and we're seeing the videotape right now. What was going through your mind at this point? Did you have any other options, first of all?

RICHARDSON: There's nothing else I can do. Now there are certain number of things that you can do to cause the slider to come on down the lines, and I did everything that I was taught to do, and the instructor who was in the air with me, he was also hollering instructions at me in the air, and I did everything that I was told to do, and nothing was going to make that slider come down to stop me from spinning. And once I realized that what I was doing wasn't going to work, I had accepted the fact that I was going to die on this skydiving attempt, my 10th jump and it was going to be the last. I was sure of it.

M. O'BRIEN: So you actually got to that point where you said, this is it. Did that -- you know, it was one of these classic things, your life flashes before you, all that kind of thing?

RICHARDSON: I wouldn't say my whole life flashed before my eyes, like everyone would say. I didn't have that much time to think about it. I really was falling quite fast, and I wasn't that high up by the time I was under my reserve canopy.

So to say my whole life flash before my eyes, that wouldn't be true. But I had accepted it. I just told myself that this was going to be it, and that this was going to be the end of my skydiving, and the end of my life, and the end of my family time and everything was going to be over, because of this one jump, because I couldn't make it do what I needed it to do.

M. O'BRIEN: Was there -- it sounds, you talk about it now in a very matter-of-fact way. Was there time, did you panic? Were you afraid? Or were you just trying to solve the problem?

RICHARDSON: Really, when I was under the reserve, I was afraid, obviously. I mean, I'm going down, I'm spinning. I have no control. So yes, there was a little fear there. But I also had to remain collected to the point to where I could still attempt to correct my problem, because you also had to keep in mind, I'm being faced with a very serious problem, and if I had just completely panicked, you know, it may have been something that could have been fixed. I never would have even known.

M. O'BRIEN: So fast forward. You land on your face at 50 miles an hour. They take you to the hospital, they treat you. Lots of surgery, 15 plates. But in the midst of this they discover oh, my goodness, she's pregnant. And your baby is fine?

RICHARDSON: The baby's fine. I'm 12 weeks now. It was 2 weeks at the time. And so we didn't -- it wouldn't have been anything that we would have had any idea about. But they discovered it through blood work, and now to date, I've been to the doctor, and the baby's moving and growing, the heartbeat's fine. We've -- developing like a normal baby would.

M. O'BRIEN: And a final thought here. Boy, you have some stories to tell your baby whenever he or she is born, I know your fiance was the person taking the pictures, the instructor.


M. O'BRIEN: How does he feel about you skydiving again some day?

RICHARDSON: He understands why. Now he may, you know, try to -- I mean, it will make him nervous. It's going to make him nervous to take me back up in the air because I'm a student. I still don't know everything I need to know. I've got a lot to learn still. And we see the effects of what just a little lack of knowledge can cause. So he'll be nervous. And yes, of course, I'll be nervous going back up. But he, too, has done this for nearly five years. He knows why I'm doing it again. He understands.

M. O'BRIEN: All right. Shayna Richardson, good luck on a lot of things that lie ahead of you. We wish you happiness and health in the birth of your baby, and then safe skydiving after that, OK?

RICHARDSON: All right. Thank you very much.

M. O'BRIEN: Thanks, Shayna.

S. O'BRIEN: He's nervous? I'm nervous. Oh my God! M. O'BRIEN: I'm getting nervous thinking about it. Wow.

S. O'BRIEN: Hey, good for her.

M. O'BRIEN: She looks great.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, what spirit. You know what? She's alive because she is one tough gal.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes.

ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" COLUMNIST: I'm thinking maybe they should take up chess, though.

S. O'BRIEN: Something kind of lower to the ground would be good.

M. O'BRIEN: Shuffleboard is a great sport.

S. O'BRIEN: I'm anxious for her.

Let's talk business news. What do you got for us?

SERWER: Soledad, the very latest stock scam we're going to tell about. Hint, is that your cell phone beeping? Stay tuned to AMERICAN MORNING.


S. O'BRIEN: Well, a warning to investors: don't believe everything you read on your cell phone. We'll look at that. Andy Serwer is "Minding Your Business."

SERWER: Soledad, we're talking about text messaging there.

Let's go down to the big board and see how stocks are faring at this hour, though. Up 32 -- the Dow Jones Industrials. That despite the fact the trade deficit came in a record $69 billion in October. That despite the Federal Reserve raising interest rates yesterday. Investors just don't care. That's because the economy continues to purr along, and we're heading towards the end of the season.

Investors want to see gains for Q4. Portfolio managers are trying to touch up their portfolios as we head to the end of the year. Apple stock retreating a little bit this morning, down 3 percent. That's just because that stock has been on an absolute tear over the past year.

Now back to this story about text messaging. The NASD, the National Association of Securities Dealers, is warning investors that the latest stock scam is coming via text messaging. Yes, that's right.

Scammers have used faxes, e-mails, cell phones, gone door to door. But now they're sending pump and dump messages over mobile phones, "200 percent profit in a month." Well, you know better than to believe that. Hot buy. You know better than to believe that. S. O'BRIEN: I mean, it's sort of like getting an e-mail message that says this, right?

SERWER: That's right.

M. O'BRIEN: Two hundred percent is too much in a month?

SERWER: Miles. Someone send him a message, please.

S. O'BRIEN: You guys aren't getting 200 percent return every month on your investments?

SERWER: Soledad is.


SERWER: The best one was, last year -- you remember when there was -- or it was earlier this year when there were messages left on voicemail. And I got one of these and it sounded so good because it was a wrong number message left on your voicemail.

S. O'BRIEN: That at least was clever.

SERWER: And it sounded like a great time last night. By the way, my friend Ted, you know that stockbroker who got really rich, he just told me about this stock that goes up, like, 2 percent every hour.

S. O'BRIEN: I thought that was a clever scam.

SERWER: That was a really good one.

M. O'BRIEN: That is clever, because you think you're eavesdropping. So who gains in these deals, though? Is this just -- because it's...

SERWER: Well, it's the people who own these little tiny stocks.

M. O'BRIEN: These little teeny stocks.

SERWER: They pump them up and then they sell them.

S. O'BRIEN: Hence, pump and dump.

SERWER: That's it.

M. O'BRIEN: Pump and dump.

SERWER: She's learning stuff today.


S. O'BRIEN: Andy, thank you.

SERWER: You're welcome.

M. O'BRIEN: We'll be back with more in a moment. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

S. O'BRIEN: We're out of time. Four hours, something like that.

M. O'BRIEN: It goes by like 3:59. Whoosh!

All right, Fredricka Whitfield in for Daryn today.