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The Anatomy of Violence; Race to Cure an Ultra-Race Disease; Alicia Keys: Voice Against AIDS

Aired May 4, 2013 - 16:30   ET


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN HOST: Hey there. And thanks for joining us.

Lots to get to today. Starting off with a couple of people you know well but who are also doing things that are going to surprise and inspire you.

Alicia Keys, she's going to stop by and talk about her passion beyond the music. You're going to see her in a whole new light.

Also, Jonny Lee Miller. You might know him as Sherlock Holmes from CBS' "Elementary." Well, this weekend, he's running a 50-mile ultra marathon. Why? To try and save a 4-year-old boy.

But, first, the anatomy of violence. How does an innocent child grow up to be one of the accused Boston bombers or any criminal for that matter? What is happening inside their brains? I will tell you, that's controversial for sure, but scientists today say biology plays a much bigger role than we once thought.



GUPTA (voice-over): In the wake of tragedy come the inevitable questions. What makes a killer? Is there a switch that turns on a rampage? And why? Why would someone do this?

ADRIAN RAINE, CRIMINOLOGIST: You can just say the person is evil. I think that's 13th century thinking. I think we have moved beyond that.

GUPTA: Adrian Raine is a criminologist. He's also the author of the new book, "The Anatomy of Violence." He has spent more than three decades studying cold-blooded killers. He says there are biological explanations for violence. And Raine is convinced that brain dysfunction may in part explain the terror unleashed in Boston.

RAINE: Were they just completely normal people who just decided one day, "You know what, we want to create mayhem"?

I don't think so. I think it's more complicated than that.

(OEND VIDEOTAPE) GUPTA: You know, when you see all the tragedies that have happened recently with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev or Adam Lanza, with your background, your experience on what you've learned, what do you look for? What would you advise researchers as they're investigating these cases?

RAINE: Well, you know, there is no research at all on terrorists or sort of mass murderers at a biological level. But you can always speculate based on what I have learned about violence that, you know, with the bombings in Boston these perpetrators, they did not have poor frontal lobe functioning. They were able to plan, regulate and control.

So, if I brain scanned them, I don't think we'd see poor frontal functioning. But I think what we would see is an impairment, a volume reduction and poor functioning in a part of the brain called the amygdala. It's the seat of emotion.

We have been finding on our research on psychopathic offenders that these psychopaths have an 18 percent reduction in the volume in the amygdala. And also, when they contemplate making moral decisions like should I kill someone or not, that part of the brain is just not as active as in normal people.

GUPTA: You have done a terrific job, Adrian, of really making the science accessible for people. And I want to show a couple of images I think that are going to be important here and people will see this again. You should read the book.

But take a look there. It's a scan of the brain, a PET scan. Normal on the left and a murderer on the right. What are we looking at there?

RAINE: Well, we are looking down on the brain. This is a PET scan, so it's looking at brain functioning. On the warm colors, the red and yellow indicate high glucose metabolism or high brain functioning. And on the left there with the normal control, you can see there is a lot of good functioning in the very frontal region of the brain. See right at the top there --

GUPTA: That orange-yellowish area.

RAINE: That's right, yes, at the top. That's good frontal lobe functioning. But look on the right. The murderer, a distinct lack of activation in the very frontal region of the brain.

GUPTA: That is an area of the brain that's often associated with judgment, but also inhibition.

RAINE: Absolutely. It's part of the brain that regulates emotion, regulates impulsive action -- a bit like the guardian angel on behavior, you know?

GUPTA: Right.

RAINE: Or a bit like the brakes on a car. If the brakes are broken, car gets out of control. And the same can be true of an individual with poor frontal lobe functioning. They can run out of control and become impulsively violent.

GUPTA: You make these sort of revelations about what's happening in the brain but also the physiology. For example, it's fascinating when you talk about someone's heart rate, something as simple as heart rate. Regardless of what's happening in the brain and now their heart rate, what have you found?

RAINE: What we've been finding and what many researchers have been finding is that low resting heart rate is really one of the best replicated correlates of aggressive and violent behavior. Not just in adults but also in children.

GUPTA: In part of the studies, you took somebody, and you put them in a condition, maybe had a loud noise or something, and tried to figure out, does their heart rate go up as you'd expect? And if it didn't, that was -- that was a flag.

RAINE: Absolutely.

We put 1,800 3-year-old children into this experiment, while we measured fear conditioning. Do they have anticipatory fear before a punishment comes on? And what we found is that the 3-year-olds who really showed a lack of fear at that time, they were more likely to go on to become criminal offenders 20 years later.

GUPTA: Again as a neuroscientist, someone who's interested in this -- if you know some of these risk factors now which you again describe in the book, is there something that can be done then at that point to say, look, we know -- we have identified the high risk people because we have objective evidence that this has caused changes in the brain? What can we do as individuals or as a society?

RAINE: We can certainly do something to change things. In fact, one of the reasons for writing the anatomy of violence is I wanted to open up a new door to everyone, a new way of looking at violence and the causes of crime and violence. And the brain can change for the better with a better environment.

So, for example, we enrich the environment of 3-year-old children by giving them better nutrition, more physical exercise and a cognitive stimulation for two years from age 3 to 5. That resulted in better brain functioning at age 11 and a 35 percent reduction in criminal offending at age 23.

So it's not biology by itself. It's not a social environment by itself. It's the mix of them coming together that conspire to create the violent offender.

GUPTA: Yes. So, if everyone is out there measuring their heart rate or something, it's not quite as simple as that.

RAINE: It's not as simple as that. I have got a low resting heart rate, too.

GUPTA: I shouldn't be concerned. Right.

And my thanks again to Adrian Raine for joining us. Really fascinating stuff.

And still ahead on SGMD: see what TV's Sherlock Holmes is doing to help scientists find real clues to cure a rare disease before it's too late.

Stay with us.



JONATHAN LEE MILLER, ACTOR: I decided, just stop using drugs. Yes, I decided, me.


GUPTA: Now, this weekend, actor and avid runner there, Jonny Lee Miller, is going to be running his first ultra marathon. You heard about this? They are 50 miles long, a real challenge.

But he's doing it to raise $160,000 to help this young boy named Jonah.


GUPTA (voice-over): Meet Jonah, he's a smiling, carefree 4-year-old kid.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That kind of tastes like apples!

GUPTA: But these days, Jonah's parents aren't so carefree.

JEREMY WEISHAAR, JONAH'S FATHER: On Jonah's 1-year well visit, we switched pediatrician, and he noticed that his head's circumference size was large, off the charts. And then more genetic testing determined exactly what it was.

JILL WOOD, JONAH'S MOTHER: The doctor got more and more into it and I was like, wait a second. And tears are just coming down my eyes. I was like, what are you telling me here? My son has a fatal disease?

GUPTA: The diagnosis, Sanfilippo syndrome, resulting in Jonah's inability to break down a compound called heparan sulfate which then builds up inside every cell in his body.

WOOD: At first it attacks the central nervous system. So we have profound brain damage, we have minor bone deformities, hearing loss, blind, organ failure, death.

GUPTA: For now, Jonah is more or less healthy. The doctors say he may develop profound brain injury by the time he's 6. Without effective treatment, Jonah won't expect to live beyond his teens.

JONAH: Dan, look --

WEISHAAR: Where? Oh, my goodness. GUPTA: Now, when he's not at the park with his son, Jonah's dad works as a cameraman on CBS' "Elementary". It's a Sherlock Holmes reboot starring Lucy Liu as Watson and Jonny Lee Miller as Holmes.

MILLER: I am an actual tattoo artist. I did a lot of these myself.


MILLER: Ambidextrous.

WEISHAAR: And he said he wanted to do something for us, to help the people that he's standing next to essentially. Something he's good at, leverage his position to help us out.


MILLER: I spend every day with this man, you know? And I look at him and he's -- he radiates calm. He has the toughest job on our set. Focus, it's just an incredibly technical, very, very difficult high pressure job. And I see this man. And he is a source of calm, he's very good natured.

We spend more time with each other over the course of filming this season, and you find out a little bit it's more about Jonah, and about what's going on. My son is the same age. So we are exchanging kid stories and joking.

And the more you find out about this, the more you're like, this is terrible. And for me, I was impressed by his strength and fortitude. I would only hope that in a similar situation, I would be the same.

GUPTA: What was his reaction when you told him you were going to do this?

MILLER: You know, people say a lot of stuff. You know, people mouth off. People, you know, people procrastinate. You know, it started, I was like, maybe can do some fundraising. Maybe, is this something we can do?

And, really, then it got serious. It was -- we wanted to do this properly. I sat down and I talked with Jill, his wife, and she has told me projects (ph) that she started. She said, well, we have nine research projects going right now.

So, I'm like, OK, how can we -- what can we actually achieve right now? I mean, I could -- we could procrastinate about curing diseases all day long. But what can we actually do? And she said, well, this one, the natural history study. This is the most important key right now for moving towards drug trials.

GUPTA: You're able to train, do this event and, again, you find the time to train?

MILLER: Yes, I do. You know, most of the hard training is done. I will train before work, I train after work. I run to work, I run home from work. I mean, you make it fit into your life. The point of ultra running really is not the medal and belt buckle and t-shirt at the end or whatever you will get. It's how you prepare for that. That feeds into the rest of your life, you know?

The race is really won by getting up at 5:00 in the morning when it's snowing and going for -- that's when you win -- that's when -- there is no winning really for people like me. I'm not competitive in that sphere. I have no chance of winning. It's the doing and how you prepare life and get there. And that really feeds into then how do I conduct myself and I do along the way to benefit someone else? Then we end up sitting in this television studio having a conversation about the syndrome.

GUPTA: And we certainly we Jonah well, and also, Jonny. We wish him well at Vera Mountain. We're going to tell you how it went next weekend right here on SGMD.

Vinnie Marino started practicing yoga as a teenager in New York City. But the serenity from that didn't last and in the 1970s, he turned to drugs for a quick and easy way to feel free. I wanted to show you now how he turned his life around.


VINNIE MARINO, YOGA KING: Open your hearts. Open your chests.

GUPTA (voice-over): He's been called the unlikely yoga king of L.A., Vinnie Marino, a 54-year-old recovering drug addict regularly fill it is room with die hard devotes of his unique style of yoga.

MARINIO: I think what happens with my class and probably any class is a community is built around the class.

GUPTA: But Vinnie's purpose-driven life wasn't always so grounded.

MARINO: I started stealing alcohol from my mother -- you know, from the bar in her Tupperware containers. Then I started sniffing glue and smoking pot, started doing pills, started doing psychedelics, ended up shooting cocaine and heroin.

GUPTA: Growing up in the 1970s in New York City, drugs were everywhere. Marino said he couldn't get enough of the high life.

MARINO: But it was a psychic thing, like you know what? No matter how much I do, I'm going to come down.

GUPTA: After a stint in rehab and another nine months using he finally got clean and immersed himself in yoga.

MARINO: It physically felt great because my body and all of our bodies hold stress and yoga, like the poses and breathing opened me up. It just felt like right.

GUPTA: Marino found more inspiration when a mutual friend introduced him to Grace Slick, lead singer of Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship. MARINO: Grace always reminded me to do what you love. I was like, I don't know what to do with myself. She's like, teach yoga. I said, all right. The opposite for me was going to take a teacher training program. I was like, I don't have the money for that. And she said, I'll pay for it.

Straight out in front of you.

GUPTA: Today, Marino says he gets the same rush from yoga as he used to get from drugs.

MARINO: I think even the search with drugs is a search for connection and joy. I think yoga is a healthy way to get there.


GUPTA: Sill ahead, Alicia Keys on the front lines of the fight against AIDS.


GUPTA: You probably know Alicia Keys as a singer, songwriter and producer who just happens to have 14 Grammys. But she also raised millions of dollars to care for AIDS patients in Africa and India. That's with the foundation that she started herself. But now she's bringing her passion back to the state and specifically to Washington, D.C.


GUPTA (voice-over): She told more than 30 million albums worldwide. This is the hit "Superwoman".


GUPTA: It's an anthem to celebrate, motivate and inspire women. Now, Alicia Keys wants women with HIV to feel empowered.

ALICIA KEYS, GRAMMY AWARD-WINNING ARTIST: There are not the headlines about the AIDS pandemic here in America that there should be. And it is shocking and it is unacceptable.

GUPTA: So unacceptable she came to Washington to launch Empowered, campaign she hopes will help women get tested, protect themselves, lead full, healthy lives and speak openly about the disease.

KEYS: We can't act like it's not happening. We have to make sure we know that we are all at risk. This is all of our issues. We can't go around and not let people be who they are in the light of day. It can't be like this anymore. We are too far in the future now.

GUPTA: Alicia Keys has an ally in White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. Her sister-in-law died of AIDS nearly 20 years ago.

VALERIE JARRETT, SENIOR ADVISORT TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: She was married with a young child and really didn't get the testing she should have had early on in her illness because it never occurred to anyone that a married mom would actually have -- be HIV positive.

GUPTA: Keys met with women willing to share their stories. She's hoping to start an open dialogue about the epidemic. Several of them are featured in the campaign. Twenty-six-year-old Stephanie Brown was diagnosed at 19.

STEPHANIE BROWN, DIAGNOSED WITH HIV AT AGE 19: For me to come out and speak helps the next person who is newly diagnosed.

GUPTA: The campaign is building on some momentum. The CDC says new infections among women dropped 21 percent between 2008 and 2010. Still, more than a million Americans are infected. One in four of those is a woman.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Strength, wisdom and courage to continue this --

GUPTA: Empowered will provides grants, up to $25,000, to programs like this one at the United Medical Center in southeast Washington.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody is so hush-hush about --

KEYS: I am, you know, hopefully, you know, giving people the opportunity to feel like we can engage in a conversation that there is not something bad about you if you are HIV positive. You are beautiful, gorgeous human being who has so much to offer the world.


GUPTA: And here's something everyone should know. This week, a federal government panel offered a formal recommendation that every American age 15 to 65 should be screened for HIV once a year, something to keep in mind.

Now, David Nalin was just 26 when he helped invent modern oral rehydration therapy. And it's been said that no other breakthrough could prevent so many deaths over such a period of time at so little cost. It's just a simple fix of glucose and essential minerals. But for people dying of dehydration, which is a leading killer in the developing world, it means everything. That's why we're showing you his life's work.


DR. DAVID NALIN, CO-INVENTOR, ORAL REHYDRATION THERAPY: This photograph shows me during the first clinical trial in spring of 1968 in former east Pakistan, now Bangladesh. I had an epiphany in which I still remember I felt a chill down my spine. Follow the basic rule of replacing the losses with equal volumes of a matching but absorbable solution with glucose.

You meet many people who say, oh, it saved my little child's life. It saved my brother's life. That's one of the most gratifying thing to see that it has gone through clinical research and reached the very people we wanted it to reach -- the mothers of infants with diarrhea in the developing world.


GUPTA: And I'll tell you, I have seen firsthand what that simple solution can do all over the world. It's absolutely amazing stuff.

We have a check of the top stories just minutes away. But coming up next: tricks for beating those seasonal allergies.

Stay with us.


GUPTA: You have heard this before. April showers bring May flowers. But you also know they bring plenty of allergy symptoms to millions of Americans. And if you are one of them, best advise, don't push your luck. Stay indoors when the pollen count is highest.

And here's something else: when you do go outside, change your clothes right away when you get back in. That way, you're not spreading pollen all over the house. Some people are going to need prescription medications for allergies. But anyone can try something as simple as a saline nasal rinse.

You can also find out which types pollen, molds or grasses you are allergic to by getting an allergy test from your doctor. Good luck.

That's going to do it for SGMD today. But when you get a minute do this -- the featured Fit Nation section of the CNN iPad app. We're going to get the latest update there on next week's training trip.

Right now, keep it here for a check of your top stories is "THE CNN NEWSROOM".