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Larry King Hosts 25 Years of Health News

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Wendy Walker: We’ve also done a lot on depression. We did a program in the 1990s with Art Buchwald, Mike Wallace, and William Styron, the author of Sophie’s Choice, all talking about their struggles with depression. Buchwald told a story about being in New York, about to jump out of a hotel room window, and there was a porter who came to the door and helped him, so he didn’t. We had a girl call in to the show to tell us that she had been planning to commit suicide, but she was so moved by what Buchwald said that she decided to hold on.

And we also got a call after we did a show about Natasha Richardson’s death from a head injury while she was skiing. [The caller] said having seen the show and learning the warning signs saved their daughter’s life after she hit her head.

WebMD: What are some of the breakthrough shows that you’ve done on medical issues -- topics that previously hadn’t gotten much coverage, or were controversial?

WW: We were one of the first shows to discuss the potential link between cancer and radiation from cell phones. We did an early show on this in 1993, and in 2008 we did a program with Johnnie Cochran’s neurosurgeon, Dr. Keith Black. [Cochran died of a brain tumor in 2005.] He wouldn’t come out and say that he [thought he] got the brain tumor because of cell phone use, but he wouldn’t rule it out.

LK: We did shows on irritable bowel disease -- something that just wasn’t discussed. And colostomies, where you have to wear the bag. We haven’t been afraid to talk about things that might make people uncomfortable.

WW: We’ve also talked a lot about the traditional approaches to cancer treatment, radiation and chemotherapy, vs. alternative treatments. We make sure to cover both perspectives. I think that’s one of the things that these shows have all done. Before, whatever your doctor would say, you’d do it without question. Now people are interested in getting a second opinion, and they have WebMD and other sources to explore their options.

WebMD: What medical shows have touched you most? Have there been any that have moved you to tears?

LK: Going through the burn center two weeks after 9/11, that was one of the hardest shows to do. I learned a lot about burns, why they kill you and how they’re treated. I remember one guy -- they couldn’t even put a sheet on him because the sheet brought him so much pain, so he had to lie uncovered. I was impressed by how many people were willing to talk about what had happened to them.

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