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MLB's Worst Doping Scandal Looming; Sunscreen Works; How to Spot the Toxic People in Your Life

Aired June 8, 2013 - 16:30   ET



FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right. That's going to do it for me from the "CNN NEWSROOM", I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

SANJAY GUPTA, M.D. starts right now.

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

Good news this week about sunscreen. It turns out it does more than prevent burns and cancer and the pictures we're about to show you are something you're never going to forget. I'm going to tell you exactly what you need to know.

Also, my friend Dr. Phil McGraw, he's stopping by. We're going to talk about getting rid of toxic people in your life. Who doesn't want that? Also, how to negotiate win-win solutions with your friends, family and the people you work with.

But, first, a crackdown on drug cheats in baseball.

Let's start off by asking this question -- what makes these players so different from the rest of us?


GUPTA (voice-over): ESPN reported this week that Major League Baseball is laying the groundwork to suspend some 20 players, including stars like the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez, and another former MVP, Ryan Braun.

ESPN and "The Miami New Times" say players used a Miami clinic that provided drugs which baseball bans as performance enhancers, testosterone and human growth hormone. Major League Baseball calls it an active investigation.

Rodriguez says it's not the time to comment.

And Braun said he's done talking. In the past he denied using performance enhancers.

And Rodriguez said he's been clean for a decade.

(END VIDEOTAPE) GUPTA: Joining me now is Dr. Don Catlin. He's an anti-doping scientist. He's also one of the founders of modern drug testing in sports.

Thanks for joining us.

DR. DON CATLIN, THE CATLIN CONSORTIUM: Happy to be here. Thanks for having me.

GUPTA: You know, we have been hearing a lot about this lately. And based on the reports, the players were getting testosterone and human growth hormone.


GUPTA: Just to get some of the terms straight, first of all, when they say testosterone, that's an anabolic steroid, correct?

CATLIN: It is an anabolic steroid. But it's also a natural hormone. We all have it. All men and women actually, have a normal amount.

GUPTA: There's a lot of people who use testosterone. I think a read a stat that says that the number of men who are taking it tripled over the last several years. What do you make of that?

CATLIN: It's a huge money-maker for the industry. You can't turn on TV for more than an hour --

GUPTA: You see all the ads.

CATLIN: You see it, yes. That never used to be there. Now, the advertising is very clever. Are you fatigued, tired, are you not performing as well?

GUPTA: Right.

CATLIN: Right.

GUPTA: It hits all the hot buttons. Everyone says, hey, that's me.

CATLIN: That's me.

GUPTA: It seems there are three categories. It will help you. It will do nothing for you. It could be potentially harmful for you.

When it comes to testosterone, if you are taking it, maybe not necessarily needing it, could it be harmful?

CATLIN: Yes, it can, of course. Any drug can be harmful. But relatively speaking compared to other anabolic agents, not so.

GUPTA: Human growth hormone?

CATLIN: Same thing.

GUPTA: There is a notion that our hormone levels drop, certain hormones as we age. With women, they talk about hormone replacement therapy was thought to be a great panacea for all things that ailed women as they got older. And you are starting to hear that same sort of drumbeat about testosterone. Just to put a lid on this, I mean, what -- the average man, should they be taking testosterone?


GUPTA: You don't think so?


GUPTA: Even as you get older and your levels sort of naturally drop off?

CATLIN: They naturally fall, but that's life.

GUPTA: I like that. That's a good response.

You know, the other thing that sort of strikes me is that with regard to human growth hormone, and again, in the context of these athletes, from the studies that I read and the doctors I have spoken to, there is really no evidence that it can actually increase your performance -- your athletic performance out there.

CATLIN: That's correct.

GUPTA: So, if there is no evidence of it, first of all, two questions -- why do people do it then?

CATLIN: Well, because they think it might or they don't want to miss it just in case. It's a giant placebo.

GUPTA: Is it a big scam?

CATLIN: You could call it a scam. I might call it a scam.

GUPTA: Does it help prevent injury, if not --


GUPTA: It really doesn't do anything.

CATLIN: Doesn't do a darn thing.

GUPTA: I enjoyed speaking to you. Thanks for joining us.

CATLIN: Thanks for having me.

GUPTA: Dr. Don Catlin.

And we just got evidence this week that you should be wearing your sunscreen not just at the beach but all the time. The photographs you're about to see here are astounding. It helps prevent cancer, yes, not to mention sun burns. But now we have proof they can also preserve your youth.


GUPTA (voice-over): The contrast is shocking. This man was a trucker for 28 years. The wrinkled side of the face was alongside his window. The sun did that.

This phenomenal photo and a new study this week are proof that sunscreen doesn't just protect you from painful sunburns and skin cancer, it also protects you from that age old curse: wrinkles.

Wrinkling, spotting, and loss of elasticity -- all of it known as photo-aging. It comes from exposure to the sun's radiation, and specifically UVA radiation. It's not the UVB radiation that's linked to cancer. You can see in these photos, this is the hand of a person with no skin damage. And this is someone with severe photo-aging.

In a study with 900 patients, those who used sunscreen daily over a four and a half-year period were 24 percent less likely to see these kinds of progressive changes. Doctors say this message will resonate with patients.

DR. JAMIE MACKELFRESH, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF DERMATOLOGY, EMORY UNIVERSITY: Every patient we try and tell them to use sunscreen, and believe it or not, just the message of preventing skin cancer doesn't always get through to people. And so, I'm hoping maybe vanity will weigh out in this case.

GUPTA: The rules for sunscreen she says are simple.

MACKELFRESH: You want to look for an SPF of about 30. You want it to be broad spectrum which means it covers both UVA and UVB types of rays. The most important thing, though, is you want to pick one that you will use.


GUPTA: And the sunscreen doesn't have to be expensive either. In fact, testing shows that low cost brands, they can work just as well. I do want to emphasize something, though, in terms of what to look for on the label. You want a sunscreen with an SPF of around 30. I should point out that higher numbers really don't necessarily make a difference. They might even give you a false sense of security or protection.

Also, make sure that covers a broad spectrum. That means it protects against UVB and UVA radiation. You can find it on the label.

Of course, dermatologists say your best defense, limit the time that you spend in direct sunlight. It makes a lot of sense.

You can read more about this at

Now, coming up, the top golfer whose pro-career almost ended before it ever began. Her name is Stacy Lewis. She needed a five-hour operation to fix her spine. And she came back.

Her story is next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GUPTA: And we're back with SGMD.

You know, the LPGA championship is in full swing this weekend in Pittsburgh, New York. One big contender is Stacy Lewis.

Now, Stacy held the number one ranking this year. But I can tell you when I talked to her, she told me she went through years of pain to get here.


GUPTA (voice-over): At age 28, Stacy Lewis is living the life.

STACY LEWIS, PRO GOLFER: It's been fun. You know, I get to play golf every day for a job, I mean that's not too bad.

GUPTA: She's been golfing since she was eight years old, mostly just for the love of the game.

(on camera): Was there a point in your life when you knew you were really, really good at golf?

LEWIS: Probably in college was kind of the time that I said I could maybe do this as a professional, you know?

GUPTA (voice-over): But it wouldn't come easily. In middle school, Stacy was diagnosed with scoliosis. It's a major curvature of her spine. Her doctors had hoped that it would correct itself without surgery.

LEWIS: I wore a back brace for six and a half, 18 hours a day.

GUPTA: She only took it off to play golf, but it didn't work. She had to go under the knife.

(on camera): You scheduled the surgery. Do you remember what that day was like?

LEWIS: I thought I was done playing golf. They took out one of the ribs to do a fusion, on the side had to move all the organs, the lungs, chest tube, all that kind of stuff.

GUPTA: It took doctors five hours to insert a rod and screws into her spine and then several months of rehab.

LEWIS: I couldn't bend or twist for six months. So the doctor let me chip and putt a little bit.

GUPTA: Slowly but surely, her game started to come back; her swing, even got a little better.

LEWIS: When your hands are low like that, you tend to hit it left. So, when my hands got high, I started to hit a little fade to the right, which is actually I think a better shot for golf. So, it actually worked out pretty good.

GUPTA (on camera): Right, right. It worked out pretty well.

(voice-over): Today, she's at the top of her game. Do you pinch yourself every now and then and --

LEWIS: It's strange. You know, I definitely as a kid didn't aspire to be in this position, but it's cool just to see the hard work pay off.

GUPTA (voice-over): It has paid off indeed. She has reportedly made close to $5 million in winnings. But Lewis also knows it's not forever.

LEWIS: I don't know how long I'll be able to play golf. I just feel very lucky to be doing what I'm doing. And why not enjoy it?


GUPTA: I could tell you, that same attitude is also driving our fit nation six pack. In fact, last weekend one of our team members, Rae Timmy, she rode a grueling 32 miles for a bike challenge in Colorado, something she's never think she would do. I have watched her improve by leaps and bounds, when I just trained with them not too long ago in Florida. It's amazing stuff.

During that trip, by the way, I also learned an easy to remember way to control what I eat. And I want to show you. It has to do with portion size.


GUPTA: The thing I found really fascinating is sort of thinking about your hands as an idea of what you should be eating. Explain that to me.

NICK NICASTRO, TRIATHLETE & CHEF: Your hands represent a dinner plate. You fingers are the leafy greens of the dinner plate. The palm is protein and the other palm is starch. And your thumbs would be more animal fat or if you are vegan or vegetarian -- cashews, avocado, you can get your fats.

GUPTA: If you look at it, I mean, that's a surprising amount of food. It's actually for --

NICASTRO: There you go.

GUPTA: And so, you're looking at there --

NICASTRO: Some eat more. Some have bigger hands, some have more hands, and there it is, leafy greet, protein, starch.

GUPTA: Take that away. It fits perfectly.



GUPTA: So, remember that next time you are doling out those super- sized portions, the size of your hands, that's all you really need.

And up next, Dr. Phil -- the power of healthy friendships, that's the best way to put it. How to keep them from turning bad and also the biggest mistakes that people make.


GUPTA: Sometimes the biggest roadblocks to happiness and getting what you want in life are toxic people around you. We've all met these bad guys and bad gals at one point or another. But, now, they're going to have to deal with Dr. Phil McGraw. His new book is the bestselling "Life Code: The New Rules for Winning in the Real World".

And he joins us now. Thanks for -- thanks for being here.

DR. PHIL MCGRAW, AUTHOR, "LIFE CODE": Glad to be here.

GUPTA: You find time to do a lot of different things. How long did it take to write a book like this?

MCGRAW: Well, you know, I actually was working on it for a long time. But I didn't plan to actually write the book. I just was actually doing some self-reflection and an inventory on my own life about frankly people in my life that had wound up betraying me, attacking me or trying to exploit me.

And so, I started kind of writing about, you know, who are these people? Just writing for myself. And I started seeing some patterns.

And it turns out that these type of people that I call BAITERs --


MCGRAW: -- which is just a term that stands for backstabbers, abusers, imposters -- I mean, you know just can go right on down the line -- takers, exploders and reckless, because they're reckless with your life. You just go right on down the line.

And you find out there are characteristics, traits and profiles that characterize these people.

GUPTA: As you're talking, I'm sure a lot of people are experiencing this, you are immediately thinking of people like this in your own life.

MCGRAW: Oh, yes.

GUPTA: The goal I imagine is to get rid of those people in your life, which is probably easier said than done.

MCGRAW: It is easier said than done. But, one of the things that we have to learn to do -- and the reason I decided to go ahead and write this book is because I think the world has changed. When the game changes you need a new rule book, and that's what "Life Code" is. It's the rules for winning in the real world.

And that means you've got to challenge some of the things you may have been taught. I was always taught, give people the benefit of the doubt. It's the Christian thing to do. It's the right thing to do, it's the good thing to do. Give people the benefit of the doubt.

I think that is crazy. I think it is insane. Why give somebody the benefit of the doubt? That's no less wrong than judging them.

GUPTA: Right.

MCGRAW: Why not -- let's not do either. Let's gather data and make data-based decisions about people in our lives.

GUPTA: Let's say you have come to this conclusion and you have figured out who the person is. How do you cut them off, so to speak?

MCGRAW: Step one is to trust your gut. I mean, trust your gut, because how many times, I bet you, you can go back and make a list, Sanjay, of the people in your life that you just had a funny feeling about.


MCGRAW: You weren't sure so you said, hey, you know, don't be judgmental, get over it. You got to listen to your gut. We don't tend to lie to ourselves about things like that.

And if you've got an uneasy feeling about somebody, listen to it. When you listen to it, you put them on a watch list. Maybe you don't take them out of your life yet. But you put them on a watch list. You pay attention to see if they possess the evil eight. If they are using the nefarious 15, the ways they exploit you. You watch for those things and go, wow, this person is infiltrating into my life, trying to get me into a compromising conspiratorial disclosure about our boss or about a friend.

Look, if they will gossip with you, they will gossip about you. So, I mean, if you see people doing that, listen to your gut. And those things begin to trigger and say, you know, I'm putting up a wall here. You don't have to let people know what you're thinking, but you start backing away. You stop exposing yourself to that person.

GUPTA: If you do decide that the they need to be cut out, there is an old adage that a tiger doesn't lose its stripes. I mean, can a person in the future, a year from now, do you give them a second chance?

MCGRAW: These people don't typically improve. I'm sorry. That's -- that's not true in every situation. But the prognosis is not good for these people to improve.

In fact, if they go to therapy, which is usually court ordered, because they would go on their own, but they go to therapy, a lot of them tend to get worse, because the therapist teaches them the symbol system, it teaches them how to fake it. To say, listen, you need to learn how to say this and that and the other. You need to feel this. They go, oh, OK. Got you, got you. It just makes them better at disguising who they are.

So, therapy tends to make these people worse. And you get away from it for a while and go, you know, I kind of miss that person.

GUPTA: Right.

MCGRAW: Now, you miss who you wish they were.

GUPTA: Let's say you see a friend of yours who clearly is in a relationship with a toxic person and this is your area of expertise. Should you get in there and say, look, hey, buddy, pay attention to what's going on here?

MCGRAW: It depends on how strong your relationship is. Typically, that doesn't work out for you.

The best thing you can do is say to that person, you do what you want, but let me tell you, I have bells going off about this person. I am going to pull back from this person. I am going to protect myself here. You have to make up your own mind. I'm going to tell you what I'm doing.

Then, you put them on alert. You sounded the bell without them saying, you tried to break us up. What, were you jealous our friendship? Not at all. You guys do what you need to do. I'm telling you for me, I'm taking a step back.

So, if you want to go to the movies and you want the three of us to go, you two just go ahead. You and I will catch up later.

GUPTA: I always enjoy speaking with you. I feel like I learned something. I'm already thinking about people in my life.

MCGRAW: You know, I don't want to come across as a complete pessimist. The entire second half of this book is how to win in your life, whether you ever encounter these people at all. How to play the game of life in a way that pays off for you and those you love.

And it's exciting and there is a lot of tools and information in there. The second half of the book is about all creating positives in your life. The first half is watch for people who would sabotage you along the way.

GUPTA: Yes, because they will derail the best laid plans.

It's pleasure to have you on the show.

MCGRAW: Nice talking to you.

GUPTA: Dr. Phil, thank you so much.

And I got a check of your top stories just minutes away. But still ahead, your genes and Alzheimer's, what you can learn. What we know, one man's life's work.

Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GUPTA: I often say that with Alzheimer's disease, we are sort of in a race against time, to try and find a treatment. You know, the number of Americans with Alzheimer's is expected to triple by the year 2050.

Now, we do know something about the genes that make us more prone to Alzheimer's. And we can largely thank Dr. Rudy Tanzi, the man you are about to meet, who has made this his life's work.


RUDY TANZI, ALZHEIMER'S RESEARCHER: Hi. I'm Rudy Tanzi, and here I am playing the piano. But actually I'm an Alzheimer's researcher, studying Alzheimer's genes and trying to cure this disease.

I'm playing piano to try to get some inspiration to do that.

I was originally doing some of the first studies trying to find genes that caused disease, back at a time when no one knew how to do it. I wanted to map the chromosome. I was doing it as a student. I wanted to get finished, so I picked the smallest one which was chromosome 21.

I remember that one day we were looking through this one gene we found and we said, wow, this is matching up well. You had this "aha" moment. I'm looking at probably the first Alzheimer's gene. Now, we have a target for drug discovery.

After I found the first Alzheimer's gene, my grandmother on my father's side came down with Alzheimer's disease. It literally steals who you are. And there's no other disease that does that. You actually lose decades and decades of connections, memories and experiences that define who you are. Yet, you are still alive.

It was really inspiring for me to see this and say, I need to work harder.


GUPTA: You know, if you are looking for a boost in brain power, the curry spice turmeric may be something for you to try. It's been around for more than 4,000 years and it's a staple in most curry dishes. It's what gives it the mellow yellow sort of color.

The active ingredient in turmeric is something known as curcumin. Studies show curcumin may actually protect against tissue damage in the brain as we age. And in part, it does this by reducing inflammation. In fact, there are other studies that showed turmeric may help fight infections, digestive problems, even some cancers.

I love the stuff. But you don't have to be a fan of Indian food to try it. It is sold in grocery stores as a powder. You can add it to just about any chicken or rice dish. All of it can help you chase life.

That's going to wrap things up for SGMD today. But stay connected with me at Let's keep the conversation going, of course, on Twitter @DrSanjayGupta.

Time now, though, for a check of your top stories making news right now.