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NEWSROOM for May 8, 2001

Aired May 8, 2001 - 04:30   ET


ANNOUNCER: Seen in classrooms the world over, this is CNN NEWSROOM.

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Hey. Welcome back to NEWSROOM for Tuesday, everyone. I'm Tom Haynes.

MIKE MCMANUS, CO-HOST: And I'm Michael McManus sitting in.

Lots of news about your health today -- here is the rundown.

HAYNES: First up: too many nurses leaving the field, too few willing to replace them -- is the United States facing a medical emergency?

MCMANUS: In "Health Desk," you've tried everything to lose weight, but what about going to extremes?

HAYNES: If that doesn't do the trick, try this: an exercise alternative in "Worldview."

MCMANUS: Then, they've been nagging you for weeks. In "Chronicle": What causes those miserable allergies?

HAYNES: May 8 is National Teachers Day in the United States, so a special thanks to all those teachers around the world.

It is also National Nurses Month, a time to recognize health care professionals everywhere. But many hospitals are facing a crisis. Nurses are retiring and changing jobs at a rapid rate. And there aren't enough people to replace them. It appears hospitals may have to take quick measures to hold onto their staff.

A new survey conducted at the University of Pennsylvania says about one-third of U.S. nurses under the age of 30 plan to leave their job within the next year. Whether in emergency rooms or other departments, nurses are becoming burned out. About 41 percent of U.S. nurses surveyed said they were not satisfied with their current jobs. That's compared to almost 33 percent in Canada, just over 36 percent in England, 37 percent in Scotland and 17.6 percent in Germany. Pressures, demands and rising workloads are driving nurses out of the field.

Many nurses say, for the most part, patient care has deteriorated. And some even report verbal abuse on the job. Improving working conditions has been difficult because of financial constraints on hospitals.

The U.S. nursing shortage could leave some patients shortchanged. Many people in the medical profession worry that the quality and amount of care patients receive will decrease with the number of nurses.

CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta spent time with one nurse who's voicing her concerns and being heard.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we should ...

IRENE TELARICO, REGISTERED NURSE: Where do you hurt: your back?


SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Irene Telarico is a nursing supervisor at Grady Memorial Hospital, one of the busiest hospitals in Atlanta. Here, she has to worry about more than just patients.

TELARICO: It's a profession that is quickly going into crisis.

GUPTA: Grady does not require their nurses to work overtime, but many hospitals do. And the hours can be relentless.

TELARICO: In my career, I believe I've worked at least 20 with mandatory overtime.

GUPTA (on camera): Twenty hours straight?

TELARICO: Twenty hours straight.

GUPTA (voice-over): Leaving a lot of room for error.

TELARICO: If I'm on my 18th hour and I'm in -- I've got sick people I'm worried about, and I'm giving medications, you worry.

GUPTA: And she should. The nursing shortage may be even worse than the medical community expected. Government figures now show, by the year 2008, an additional 450,000 nurses may be needed.

Irene's been trying to recruit nurses for 12 years. It's a tough job.

TELARICO: Do you want to postpone it for another time? Or you're just -- you're not interested at all?

GUPTA (on camera): Do you think that sort of workload is scaring off nurses from going into nursing?

TELARICO: I think so. I mean, I think, you know, there's an easier way to earn a living.

GUPTA (voice-over): The nursing shortage is hitting at a very bad time. The fastest growing segment of the population is the elderly. It's that group which demands the most health care, that, as the most experienced nurses, largely middle-aged women, leave the profession at an alarming pace.

(on camera): That combination has the attention of virtually all who rely on the health care industry. In the wake of a series of nursing strikes across the country, nurses' voices are being heard, their complaints taken seriously.

REP. TOM LANTOS (D), CALIFORNIA: The complaints are all the same.

GUPTA (voice-over): Tom Lantos is a Democratic congressman from California, a state hard hit by the nursing shortage. He's just introduced legislation to address nurses' concerns.

LANTOS: It gives nurses the same kind of protection that airline crews now get. You wouldn't expect a pilot to fly 18 hours, because the danger would be obvious to all the passengers.

GUPTA: Lantos suggests some nursing work could be handled by less skilled, less expensive workers. Meantime, Irene will keep trying to recruit nurses, reminding them of the many rewards...

TELARICO: I'm just trying to follow up to make sure that we're all set for May 7.

GUPTA: ... so that patients don't pay the price.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Atlanta.


MCMANUS: Recent stats show that, in the U.S., there are about 10 million obese children. It is a disturbing figure that has doubled over the past 20 years. The National Institutes of Health says 13 percent of children between the ages 6 and 17 are overweight. In an effort to reverse this trend, U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher is talking tough. He's calling today's youth the most overweight, obese generation of children in U.S. history.

One possible solution: Put down the remote control, turn off the television and get active. Studies show U.S. children are watching, on average, 1,000 hours of television each year. That translates into about three hours of TV every day. Even worse, the nonprofit TV- Turnoff Network says some families keep the television on for eight hours a day. The group says television is the main culprit for poor exercise habits.

Since 1995, it has organized pledge drives throughout schools and community centers to get children to turn off their TVs and use the time, instead, to toss footballs, take walks or ride bicycles. Of course, the downfall of most diet and exercise goals for teens and adults alike is motivation.

Rhonda Rowland takes a look at a growing exercise trend where motivation is the key ingredient.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't like it! No way!

RHONDA ROWLAND, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It looks like military training: grueling workouts, an angry drill sergeant, getting muddy, but it's actually an exercise class that uses the theory behind boot camp to whip people into shape.

Boot camp fitness classes meet at 6:00 a.m. every morning at this Atlanta park, rain or shine, for an hour's worth of basic training techniques.

STEVE URIA, BOOT CAMP DRILL SERGEANT: It's cardioendurance, it's calisthenics, isometrics, plyometrics, you name it, we get all in one.

ROWLAND: Participants learn quickly that boot camp fitness classes center around motivation and pushing themselves to the limit.

Instead of fashionable workout attire, discipline and determination are all that's required.

URIA: It's a 10-day commitment that you sign up for, and you come for those 10 days. Once you've done that, then you can go on to the next level, and after you get through the next 10 days, you get dog tags with your name, and that's your reward.

ROWLAND: Because each participant works at their own pace, people of all fitness levels, from beginner to marathon runner, can join. And by the end of the two-week class, they've built muscle as well as friendships.

For "Feeling Fit," I'm Rhonda Rowland.


HAYNES: OK, it's time to put your thinking caps on because, guess what? It's test time. No, I'm just kidding, but I got your heart rate going, didn't I? All right, maybe not. But if I did, there is help on the way in the form of a computer, of all things.

CNN's James Hattori shows us how a group of high school kids in California is learning to chill out and stay focused on the task at hand.


JAMES HATTORI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nothing strikes fear in the minds of high school students like taking a test. That's why the football squad at Watsonville High in Central California is going heart-to-hard-drive with a computer.

JEFF GOELITZ, HEARTMATH: So you want to -- you want to chill out as much as possible. Avoid conflicts. Stay focused on the test. It's like game day. HATTORI: In this mind game, students are hooked up to finger monitors measuring heart rhythms and wired into a computer program called Freeze-Framer, which, according to HeartMath the software maker, displays their emotional state. A jagged wave pattern indicates stress and anxiety. Uniform, flatter waves mean you've hit The Zone, the place where the heart and mind are working in a balanced state.

GOELITZ: So when you have your brain and your heart and your body all working together, you're going to have more of that optimal learning state. So I think that's one of our contributions is: Help the kids relax; help the kids focus; help them manage their emotions better.

HATTORI: Watsonville High tried the Freeze-Framer software during a four-week pilot program to help students perform better on an upcoming statewide achievement test. The HeartMath program includes learning relaxation techniques like controlled breathing, thinking about happy moments or moments of accomplishments.

The students say it works.

JOEY GARCIA, WATSONVILLE HIGH STUDENT: When you do -- actually do Freeze-Framer, I do feel myself being more calm and I could be more focused, like my mind is more clear. And I think it does work.

HATTORI: Dr. Hans Steiner, professor of child psychiatry at Stanford University, says, while the concept is not new, it's also not totally proven.

DR. HANS STEINER, PROF. OF CHILD PSYCHIATRY, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: Just because your heart does certain things doesn't necessarily mean that you're feeling a certain type of emotion. There's a bunch of experiments that people have done sort of to try to nail down this connection. And it is very fluid.

HATTORI: He says Freeze-Framer needs more research to prove itself. Test scores at Watsonville High School will be revealing when they come in.

James Hattori, CNN, San Francisco.


MCMANUS: More health news as we spin the globe into "Worldview." Pilates takes the spotlight as a way to keep fit. And we'll focus on France and its most famous city. Come along to check out street art and historic sites.

Now to a city that's become known as the City of Lights because of its gleaming beauty: Paris. Paris is the capital of France. Its magnificent palaces, monuments and museums attract more than two million tourists every year. The most popular attraction is the Eiffel Tower, but tourists also flock to see the Cathedral of Notre Dame and the Louvre, one of the largest art museums in the world. Paris is also famous for its many romantic restaurants and charming sidewalk cafes, especially along the Champs Elysees.

Over the centuries, Paris has been the setting for revolution, romance, artistic expression and historical grandeur.

With more from the French capital, here's Stephanie Oswald.


STEPHANIE OSWALD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Visions of classic France have lured visitors for centuries, from touring ancient palaces to buying a baguette at a family run boulangerie or gazing at the Eiffel Tower. But in the new millennium, France is putting a fresh face on tradition and nowhere is that more evident than in Paris.

UNIDENTIFIED PARISIAN: Wow. Where does it begin? I mean, it's just such an incredible city from every point of view.

NATASHA EDWARDS, TIME OUT PARIS: I think there's a lot going on. I think it's a city that the facts from an outsider's case were historic and that's obviously true. It's very harmonious at first sight. And it's also a city that changes a lot.

OSWALD: Evidence of the renaissance is everywhere.

UNIDENTIFIED TOURIST: Oh, I just notice from five or six years ago that the city is much cleaner and that all of the buildings have been cleaned and restored and everything just gleams.

OSWALD: One of the most recognized sites in the world, Notre Dame can now be seen scaffolding free after 10 years of restoration.

UNIDENTIFIED TOURIST: Paris has to be the most beautiful walking city.

OSWALD: Discoveries abound in attractions and accommodations. A warm welcome is in full bloom at the newly renovated Georges Cinq, as modern floral design compliments antique furnishings.

DIDIER LE CALVEZ, GENERAL MANAGER, GEORGES V HOTEL: You can see 16th, 17th century tapestries, furnitures which have been restored. So in every corner you see furnitures which remind you of France.

OSWALD: Just off the Champs Elysees, the original Georges Cinq opened in 1928. This latest edition was unveiled just in time to welcome the newest century, in December, 1999. The Four Seasons Company spent $125 million to keep the period charm and turn this into a flagship property with bedroom suites larger than average for Paris hotels. A brilliant new sap awaits ready to pamper guests with French products, of course.

Another royal member in this family of French accommodations, Hotel De Crillon. It was originally built for King Louis XIV.

PHILIPPE LEBOEUF, MANAGING DIRECTOR, HOTEL DE CRILLON: The king actually gave the palace to some people that had done a lot for his army, the Crillon family. OSWALD: You could call it the home address for Parisian elegance.

(on-camera): So this is Les Ambassadeurs?

LEBOEUF: This is the famous Les Ambassadeurs, yes. It used to be the ballroom, actually, of the hotel. As you can see, the ceiling height and all the marbles.

OSWALD: It's beautiful.

LEBOEUF: Thank you. It's 12 different marbles, actually, from Italy.

OSWALD (voice-over): After dining, you might continue indulging in the newly restored Leonard Bernstein Suite.

LEBOEUF: We still have his piano, actually, and if our clients can come out of the hotel and they have learned something on our history or Paris or the way, that's really what I call a deluxe experience.

OSWALD: And what a glorious setting for a mere 36,000 francs per night.

(on camera): You'll even find transformation here at the Louvre, a Parisian landmark built for kings. As both the royal palace and a Medieval fortress designed to keep people out, the museum war crimes millions of visitors every year. And while the Mona Lisa still draws a crowd, new treasures are completing the picture.

(voice-over): Two magnificent new galleries display souvenirs from the past, including furniture from the days when kings ruled the country and primitive art from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas. Indeed, Paris is a city to love and a place to fall in love. What's more, the marriage between revered history and the ways of the modern world is a romance in which every visitor can find delight.

(on camera): While classic Paris will always capture people's hearts, there's a hip side to the city also riding the wave of change -- Saint Germain des Pres.

(voice-over): Travelers come from far and wide to soak up the ambiance that has inspired creativity for decades. Cafe Les Deux Mageaux (ph) and Cafe de Flore are historic haunts where Jean Paul Sartre and Simon de Beauvoir found inspiration. Following the lead of those famous French philosophers and authors, tourists and locals mingle, some in search of a little entertainment. Others seek out the latest literary gem at a local bookstore or an ancient treasure in one of the many antique shops commonly found in this part of the Left Bank.

For many, Saint Germain des Pres has simply always been the most fashionable place to let time slide away in Paris. And when day turns to night finding a hip hotel to rest your head has become easier. That trend started with the Hotel Montalembert, just a little more than a decade ago.

(on camera): These boutique hotels are making their own mark on 21st century Paris and in the case of the Montalembert and the Bel Ami, the new renaissance is being fueled by the power of the feminine touch.

(voice-over): Meet Grace Leo-Andrieu.


OSWALD: She's a pioneer in the Parisian hotel world.

LEO-ANDRIEU: Instead of redoing this hotel in a pastiche 19th century way, we wanted something to be sort of a bold, audacious statement of what contemporary French design should be about.

OSWALD: And part of her philosophy is that even contemporary hotels should be somewhat timeless. Here's a clue that you're not only in Paris, but also in a new generation of hotel. Look where we found the Bel Ami version of a business center.

LEO-ANDRIEU: And we thought it would be more convivial if they're actually, you know, doing their connections or checking on their e-mail right in the heart of the lobby of the hotel. And people seem to enjoy that.

OSWALD: They also seem to enjoy the new choices on the Left Bank, cutting edge comfort or classic French decor, a reflection of the dichotomy of old and new living in every layer of this capital city.


SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: If you're a regular at a gym, you may have heard of Pilates. Pilates is a highly sophisticated form of exercise.

While it was originally invented as an exercise routine for injured dancers, it incorporates much of what today's exercisers need. The workout increases strength, flexibility and endurance. It also improves posture, alignment coordination and balance, without adding all the bulking muscles. Pilates has become very popular among professional dancers, Broadway stars and celebrities, like Madonna and Sharon Stone.

It is still relatively new to the fitness world, but the Pilates technique has actually been around for decades.

Elizabeth Cohen has more.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Working out doesn't have to be just weight lifting or stair stepping. Experts say flexibility training should be a part of your workout too. Pilates, developed some 80 years ago by Joseph Pilates, was created with flexibility in mind.

PENELOPE WYLER, CO-FOUNDER, BODY CENTRAL: And sit very calm, and reach from your center.

COHEN: In Pilates, you work from your center, isolating the muscles right below your naval. It's a system of conditioning using strength, control and range of motion to build long lean muscles. If you're concerned about bulking up, trainers say there's no need to worry, that doesn't happen here.

Penelope Wyler, co-founder of Body Central, a Pilates studio, says there are several misconceptions about this workout.

WYLER: That's the first misconception: You don't sweat; it's a bunch of breathing. Yes, you breathe. It's mind and body, you center your body. If you don't sweat, you're not working out. It's a workout.

COHEN: One way participants increase their upper body strength is through pushups, possibly upside down. Although this equipment might look intimidating, there are easier moves for beginners.

Pilates is not a system just for the athletic population.

WYLER: It's a system for normal, healthy people. We work all ages and stages from 15 to 85, from a professional athlete to your normal, everyday person with all different types of bodies.

COHEN: Pilates can also be taken in what's called a mat class format, which means participants learn exercises in a group setting. The exercises are geared more toward the general population, with less emphasis on advanced and complex moves.

I'm Elizabeth Cohen.


HAYNES: Well, it's springtime, which means blue skies, cool breezes and lots of sneezing and wheezing. There's a one-in-four chance that you or some of your friends are allergic to grass, trees and flowers, which are all releasing plenty of pollen this time of year.

Rudi Bakhtiar shows us some solutions to this seasonal problem.


RUDI BAKHTIAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you have seasonal allergies, you're not alone. Between 20 and 25 percent of the population suffers from them.

LAUREN MAGEE, EIGHTH GRADER: I have trouble breathing. I get -- everything itches. I get all congested.

BAKHTIAR: Thirteen-year-old Lauren Magee has been suffering from allergies since the age of 5. MAGEE: I'm allergic to basically everything: indoor, outdoor, grasses, molds, trees.

BAKHTIAR: Allergies often flare up in the fall or spring when flowers, trees and plants release pollen into the air we breathe.

DR. KINGSLEY CHIN: During the springtime, when the weather is much warmer and the trees start to bloom and the grass starts to grow, that's when teenagers tend to have more problems with the seasonal allergens.

BAKHTIAR: Medical science doesn't know why allergies develop.

DR. JOHN ZORA: Allergies tend to be a genetic phenomenon. In other words, if somebody in your family has asthma, then the kids may end up having hay fever or allergic rhinitis.

BAKHTIAR: What they do know is that the cause of allergic reactions is based in the immune system. It all starts with something called antigens, which are located on the pollen of plants.

KEVIN SMITH, FIFTH GRADER: I'd have to blow my nose a lot. And I'd have to breathe out of my mouth around school and stuff, so it got pretty annoying.

BAKHTIAR: Kevin came to Dr. Zora for relief.

ZORA: Now we have a program which is successful 80 percent of the time. So we have developed a series of medications and treatment protocols which are very, very successful.

BAKHTIAR: The treatment varies from case to case, but may include one or a combination of the following: antihistamines, topical steroids in the form of sprays or inhalers and allergy shots, although allergy shots are generally reserved for patients who don't respond so well to medication, like Lauren Magee.

MAGEE: It's much better after I started taking the medication that doctors always prescribed for me. And after I got my shots, it's much easier.

BAKHTIAR: So do you -- can you go out in the grass barefoot now?

MAGEE: No, I still can't because, I mean, the allergies will never go away, but -- they're just being treated.

BAKHTIAR: But certain allergies can get better over time.

CHIN: As a child gets older, their airways are actually getting bigger. So they may still have actually the allergic response. But since they are larger, the swelling is not affecting them as much. So when one says they outgrow their allergies, it's actually a misnomer.

ZORA: I might say that one of the most important mechanisms by which we treat these problems is avoidance. BAKHTIAR: But it's hard to avoid fun in the sun, especially in the spring. So if you've got a case of the sniffles, head to your nearest allergist.

SMITH: I feel great. It's, like, much better.

BAKHTIAR: It could add a new spring to your step.

Rudi Bakhtiar, CNN, NEWSROOM.


MCMANUS: As you just saw, there are many treatments for seasonal allergies. Some are by prescription only, which means permission from a doctor before taking the medication. Others are over-the-counter and available to anyone at pharmacies or other stores.

Elizabeth Cohen tells us about three allergy medicines that could make the move from behind the counter to in front of it.


COHEN (voice-over): If you have allergies, there's a good chance your doctor has prescribed one of these three drugs for you: Allegra, Claritin or Zyrtec. Later this week, the Food and Drug Administration will consider a request to allow those prescription drugs to be sold over the counter.

ROB SEIDMAN, WELLPOINT HEALTH NETWORKS: Claritin, Allegra and Zyrtec have almost no side effects and are equally effective to the antihistamines that are available over the counter today.

COHEN: WellPoint is a managed care company. They're the ones asking the FDA for the switch.

(on camera): Some people smell a rat. Managed care companies pay for prescription drugs, minus your co-pay. When a drug's over the counter, you pay the whole thing.

(voice-over): And that could mean a lot of money out of your pocket. A month's worth of Claritin, an antihistamine, bought directly from the pharmacist costs about $90. A month's worth of generic Benadryl, an over-the-counter antihistamine, costs about $10.

So to compete, Allegra, Claritin, and Zyrtec would likely have to bring down their prices. Not surprisingly, the manufacturers are against making the drugs over the counter, known in the industry as OTC. The companies say they're the ones who've done all the safety research.

ALAN HOLMER, PHARMACEUTICAL RESEARCH AND MANUFACTURERS OF AMERICA: They're the best possible entity to be able to judge when is the appropriate time to move this medicine from the prescription status to over-the-counter status.

COHEN: There have been problems in the past with allergy drugs. Seldane went on the market in 1985 as a revolutionary, safe, non- drowsy prescription medication, but it was taken off the market in 1998 after it was linked to seven deaths.

DR. ROBERT DELAP, FDA: It turned out to have some significant drug interactions, which were life-threatening, and which could have caused some deaths in the OTC marketplace.

COHEN: So while there are health considerations for whether drugs are sold over-the-counter or by prescription, the arguments the FDA will hear Friday may be motivated as much by money as medicine.

Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Atlanta.


MCMANUS: That's CNN NEWSROOM for this Tuesday.

HAYNES: We'll see you tomorrow. Take care.

MCMANUS: Goodbye.



4:30pm ET, 4/16

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