TIME Aging

Here’s Why You May Be Aging Faster Than Your Friends

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Researchers zero in on more than a dozen factors that can predict how fast you’re aging—and have some ideas about what makes people age more slowly

We all have friends who were born in the same year but look years younger (or older) than we do. Now researchers say that such perceptions aren’t just about outward appearances but about something deeper—the different pace at which each of us ages, and what that means for our health.

In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists led by Daniel Belsky, an assistant professor of medicine at the Duke University School of Medicine’s division of geriatrics, describe a panel of 18 measures tested in 20- and 30-year olds that showed how quickly they are aging. The markers proved to be a good indicator of physiological age; they mirrored the biological effects of aging found in older people. But they were also good markers of physical age, meaning that those who aged faster also looked older, according to unbiased assessments by random people looking at their photos.

MORE: The Cure for Aging

Most studies on aging, and the factors that affect aging, come from investigations of older populations, says Belsky. And in most cases, the chronic diseases or physiological changes that come with aging are already well established in these groups. But it’s clear that aging doesn’t happen overnight; rather, it occurs gradually over a period of decades, much like water affects the shape of riverbanks or stones over time. It’s not obvious on a day-to-day basis, but can be dramatic if several years have passed.

In the study, 954 people born in 1972 or 1973 in Dunedin, New Zealand, agreed to participate in a study that followed them from age 26 to age 38. Each participant agreed to be tested on a range of 18 different factors that earlier studies have linked to aging, including blood pressure, lung function, cholesterol, body mass index, inflammation and the integrity of their DNA. Based on their scores on these measures, researchers calculated a biological age for each volunteer. They did this again when the people in the study were 32 and 38 years old, and combined them to calculate the pace at which each person was aging.

MORE: This Diet Has Been Linked to a Longer Life—Again

Some people were biologically older and aging faster than others, despite being the same chronological age. Not only that, but the researchers showed, by giving the 20- and 30-somethings the same tests of balance and thinking skills that gerontologists give for older adults, that these aging changes were the same as those occurring later in life.

Though some people really were biologically older than they are, the good news is that some were younger than their chronological age and aging more slowly than they should be. Comparing the slower and faster aging groups should reveal some hints about how to keep aging in check. And of the factors that influence aging, says Belsky, the vast majority, as much as 80%, aren’t genetic and therefore well within our control. (Even the 20% that’s DNA-based is modifiable to some extent.) “This is just the beginning,” he says. “The next step is to figure out what knowing this information helps us to do. One of the things it can help us do is identify the causes of accelerated aging so that we might slow it down. And the other thing it can help us do is evaluate therapies that slow down aging.”

MORE: Eat Better and Stress Less: It’ll Make Your Cells (and Maybe You) Live Longer

Having a way to measure, relatively accurately, the pace at which people age provides a good way of tracking whether any anti-aging treatment works or not. Some of those keys to youth likely won’t be surprising; given the 18 factors that the scientists studied, they will probably involve habits like having a healthy diet that’s low in fat and salt, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing stress, having a strong immune system and getting regular exercise. Not smoking, or quitting smoking may also play a role. To find out, Belsky says he will continue to follow the study group and re-evaluate them again when they are 45. The researchers are charting the participants’ diet, exercise and other behaviors. “We can start to evaluate which behaviors are working to slow down aging,” he says, by seeing which changes slow down the pace of aging. “It’s a tremendous opportunity to begin to sort things out.”

TIME Exercise/Fitness

11 Training Tips for Running Your First Half-Marathon

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Remember: every run has a purpose, so don't skip any

Running a half-marathon is all the rage these days, especially among women. In fact, a recent Running USA Report revealed that 13.1 is the fastest-growing race distance. What’s more, in 2014, the ladies made up 61 percent of the field.

So why are women rushing to the starting line?

“We are seeing an exciting time for women’s running in general,” Knox Robinson, coach at Nike+ Run Club NYC, publisher of the international running culture journal First Run, and co-founder of the Black Roses NYC running collective told Health. “It’s a combination of everything from women having more disposal income as consumers, companies giving more attention to women’s gear, and the ability, through social media, to see women of all shapes and sizes running, which is empowering.”

Adds Jenny Hadfield, founder of CoachJenny.com: “The training is the new way to socialize and catch up with friends. Plus there are a host of women’s specific races that provide a friendly, non-competitive environment for newbies.”

Thinking of tackling 13.1 in the near future? Consider these tips from top running pros before you lace up.

Know it’s possible

“From the beginning, I try to communicate in all ways— visually, literally and coaching-wise— how possible it is to reach this goal through intelligent training and preparation,” says Robinson who also notes that the half is a manageable distance for everyone to train for and wrap their heads around. “But you have to believe in yourself” to really succeed.

Be selective about your shoes

Your feet are your foundation, so give them the respect they deserve by investing in a good (good doesn’t always mean super pricey) pair of kicks that are comfy and truly fit your feet. Look to your neighborhood specialty running store for help, advises former Olympic runner John Henwood, founder of TheRun, a boutique treadmill studio in New York City. Here, they’ll perform a gait analysis to help decode what style of shoe is best.

Build your base

A running base is the number of miles and weeks of running you have in the bank before you being training for a race, and it is essential to a successful training season. “It’s like the foundation of a house,” says Hadfield. “The stronger the base, the more easily the body can withstand the demands of a training program.”

Find the right training plan

Before you settle on a regimen, ask yourself what your goals are, and then work back from there. “Long distance running is about being able to run faster, longer and better,” says Robinson, “so your training must be oriented in the same way.” Choosing a plan that suits your style and fitness level is also key. “When you start from where you are, you progress more readily and enjoy the journey,” explains Hadfield.

Give yourself enough time to prepare

Not only does the body need time to adapt to the progression of the mileage, but sometimes life gets in the way, so it’s wise to have a little extra cushion. Look for training schedules that fall between 14 and 16 weeks. “This gives you weeks to play with in case something happens along the way, time to live your life and have vacations and plenty of time to build up the longer runs safely,” says Hadfield. “Plus, the shorter the season, the higher the risk of injuries as well as burn out.”

Remember: every run has a purpose

So don’t skip any. The long runs on the weekends are the bread and butter and build your endurance and ability to run far. The shorter, faster workouts build speed and fitness. And the easy mid-week runs bridge the gap between these two. “Get into the habit of training by your breath, like in yoga and tuning into how it responds to the workout on the given day,” says Hadfield. “Some days will feel easier, and some harder, but when you train your body, you’ll always be in the optimal zone.”

Whatever you do, don’t neglect the long run

For some, long runs, for lack of a better word, just suck. Regardless, it’s important to get in a handful of them for the length of time you expect to be out on the course. Just as important as getting comfortable with the amount of time you’ll be on your feet, is training your mind for those miles, too. “The challenge for distance runners is that you have to give your mind something to do,” says Robinson. “Our minds aren’t used to occupying that amount of time, and after an hour or so it begins to wander.” And a idle mind is a breeeding ground for negative thoughts that make the urge to walk or stop that much harder to resist.

Hit the weight room regularly

You may think you just need to pound the pavement to prepare, but keeping your body strong through weight training is a big factor in your success. Stronger muscles improve not only your running skills, but help ward off injuries too. Build strength days into your training one to two times per week, along with another day of cross-training in some form of cardio, such as spinning,” advises Henwood. And don’t forget to work that core; a strong one can improve running biomechanics, making you more efficient at pounding that pavement.

Get on a Roll

All that running (and strength-training!) can leave muscles super tight; loosening them up with daily self-massage can go a long way in terms of keeping you injury-free, says Henwood. In fact, research shows that it can boost tissue repair, increase mobility and decrease soreness. So grab a foam roller and get down to business; your muscles will thank you on your next run.

Mix it up

You may feel a sense of comfort sticking to the same route day in and day out, but it could lead to burn out and overall resentment of those miles. For the sake of your sanity, and to keep things fresh, Henwood suggests opting for a change of scenery or surface (track, trail, treadmill) every once in a while. Other ways to hit refresh: creating a new playlist or buddying up if you are typically a solo strider.

Have fun

“Running is an emotional experience; it’s a whole body experience,” notes Robinson “Take time to have fun, as you build toward your goals.”

This article originally appeared on Health.com

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TIME Health Care

8 in 10 Doctors Admit to Treating Patients While Sick

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Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

Even while acknowledging that it can put patients at risk, according to a new survey.

A vast majority of healthcare workers acknowledged that they show up to work while feeling sick, even if they know it poses a risk to their patients, according to a new survey.

Medical professionals including physicians, registered nurse practitioners, physician assistants and midwives will work while they are under the weather, according to results from a small survey published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. Researchers surveyed over 530 attending physicians and advanced practice clinicians at a hospital and found that while 95.3% said they believed working while sick puts patients at risk, 83.1% had done it at least one time in the past year.

Most respondents said they would work while sick because they didn’t want to let their coworkers down. Others cited staffing concerns, not wanting to let down their patients or fear of being “ostracized” by their peers in the hospital.

The results come from one single hospital, so the findings may not apply to other medical offices. Still, the study authors conclude that the findings show an area of improvement for medical venues to both better protect patients and prevent health care worker burnout.

“Creating a safer and more equitable system of sick leave for health care workers requires a culture change in many institutions to decrease stigma—internal and external—associated with health care works illness,” reads a corresponding editorial. “Identifying solutions to prioritize patient safety must factor in workforce demands and variability in patient census to emphasize flexibility.”

TIME health

This Is What Happened to the First Person to Get the Rabies Vaccine

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Apic/Getty Images Joseph Meister, who received inoculation of the rabies vaccine from Pasteur in july 1885

He received his inoculation directly from Louis Pasteur, on July 6, 1885

Rabies is among the most terrifying viruses to get. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “once clinical signs of rabies appear, the disease is nearly always fatal.” (Really: there have been fewer than 10 documented cases of survival once symptoms appear.) Luckily for us—and our pets—Louis Pasteur developed a vaccine that can stop things from getting to that point.

The first time the vaccine was ever administered to a human being–on this day in 1885–was by Pasteur himself. Knowing that the disease was otherwise fatal, both doctor and patient (or, rather, patient’s mother) were willing to risk whatever harm might come from the injection, which had only been tested on dogs.

As TIME recounted in 1939:

One hot July morning in 1885, feverish little Joseph Meister was dragged by his frantic mother through the streets of Paris in search of an unknown scientist who, according to rumors, could prevent rabies. For nine-year-old Joseph had been bitten in 14 places by a huge, mad dog and in a desperate attempt to cheat death, his mother had fled from their home town in Alsace to Paris. Early in the afternoon Mme Meister met a young physician in a hospital. “You mean Pasteur,” he said. “I’ll take you there.”

Bacteriologist Louis Pasteur, who kept kennels of mad dogs in a crowded little laboratory and was hounded by medical criticism, had never tried his rabies vaccine on a human being before. But moved by the tears of Mme Meister, he finally took the boy to the Hotel-Dieu, had him injected with material from the spinal cord of a rabbit that had died from rabies. For three weeks Pasteur watched anxiously at the boy’s bedside. To his overwhelming joy, the boy recovered.

By that fall, when his nation’s Academy of Sciences acknowledged the success, “hundreds of persons who had been bitten by mad dogs rushed to his laboratory.”

As for Meister? He ended up working as a janitor at the Pasteur Institute. There, TIME reported, Meister regaled visitors with tales of his time as the pioneering doctor’s patient: “I shall see always Pasteur’s good face focused on me,” he told them. He committed suicide in 1940, shortly after Germany invaded France—though, contrary to a prevalent myth, there is no evidence that he did so because he would rather die than allow the Nazis into the Institute.

TIME Healthcare

10 Reasons You Feel Cold All the Time

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Check if you're drinking enough water

Feeling chilly when the AC is blasting is one thing. But if you’re always shivering, or your hands and feet feel like blocks of ice while everyone else nearby says the temperature feels toasty, then it’s time to investigate. It’s common for women to report feeling cold, partly as a result of physiology and also a greater susceptibility to conditions that can contribute to coldness, says Holly Phillips, MD, medical contributor for CBS2 News and author of The Exhaustion Breakthrough. This checklist of 10 reasons your internal thermostat is out of whack can help you get a handle on why you’re chronically freezing your butt off.

You’re too thin

Low body weight—defined as a BMI hovering around 18.5 or under—can chill you out for a couple of reasons. First, when you’re underweight, you lack an adequate level of body fat to insulate you from cold temperatures, explains Maggie Moon, RD, a Los Angeles–based nutritionist. The other thing is, to maintain that low BMI, you have to reduce your food intake so you likely aren’t eating very much at all. Skimping on calories puts the brakes on your metabolism, so you don’t create enough body heat. Consider putting on a few pounds by loading up on whole, healthy foods that contain lots of protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates.

Your thyroid is out of whack

Add cold intolerance to the long list of health issues you can blame on the butterfly-shaped gland in your neck. “Always being cold is a telltale sign of hypothyroidism, which means your thyroid doesn’t secrete enough thyroid hormone,” says Dr. Phillips. Without the right level of this hormone, your metabolism slows, preventing your body’s engine from producing adequate heat. Other signs of hypothyroidism are thinning hair, dry skin, and fatigue.

Approximately 4.5% of Americans have this condition, and rates are higher in women who have recently been pregnant or are over age 60. If you suspect a thyroid problem, see your doctor, who can confirm the diagnosis with a blood test and get your thyroid out of the slow lane with prescription meds.

You don’t get enough iron

Low iron levels are one of the most common reasons for chronic coldness. Here’s why: Iron is a key mineral that helps your red blood cells carry oxygen throughout your body, bringing heat and other nutrients to every cell in your system, explains Dr. Phillips. Without enough iron, red blood cells can’t effectively do their job, and you shiver.

Iron is also crucial because a deficiency can make your thyroid lethargic, leading to hypothyroidism, which further leaves you freezing, says Moon. Iron supplements can help, but the best way to boost your iron intake is through healthy food: meat, eggs, leafy greens like spinach, and seafood are the best options, says Moon.

You have poor circulation

If your hands and feet are always like ice but the rest of your body feels comfortable, then a circulation problem that keeps blood from flowing to your extremities might be to blame. Cardiovascular disease can be one cause; it’s a sign that your heart is not pumping blood effectively, or a blockage of the arteries prevents blood from getting to your fingers and toes, explains Margarita Rohr, MD, internist at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. Smoking can also bring on circulation issues, since lighting up constricts blood vessels, says Dr. Phillips.

Another possibility is a condition called Raynaud’s disease, which prompts blood vessels in your hands and feet to temporarily narrow when your body senses cold, says Rohr. Reynaud’s disease can be treated with meds, but you need to check in with your doctor for a diagnosis first.

You don’t get enough sleep

“Sleep deprivation can wreck havoc on your nervous system, throwing off regulatory mechanisms in the brain that affect body temperature,” says Dr. Phillips. It’s not clear why this happens; studies suggest that in response to the stress of not getting quality snooze time, there’s a reduction in activity in the hypothalamus, the control panel of the brain where body temperature is regulated. A study from theEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology appears to back this up: researchers documented a drop in body temperature in 20 sleep-deprived young adults. Metabolism may be a culprit here as well. When you’re fatigued from a restless night, your metabolism works at a more sluggish pace, says Dr. Phillips, producing less heat and slower circulation.

You’re dehydrated

“Up to 60% of the adult human body is water, and water helps regulate body temperature,” says Moon. “If you’re adequately hydrated, water will trap heat and release it slowly, keeping your body temperature in a comfortable zone. With less water, your body is more sensitive to extreme temperatures.” Water warms you up another way as well. It helps power your metabolism, and a sluggish metabolism translates into less overall body heat. Aim for the requisite eight glasses a day at a minimum, recommends Moon, but always drink more before and after workouts.

You don’t consume enough vitamin B12

This nutrient found only in animal products plays big role in preventing big chills. “The body needs vitamin B12 to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen through your system,” says Moon. “Not having enough can lead to B12-deficiency anemia, or a low red blood cell count, resulting in chronic coldness.” Vitamin B12 deficiency can be caused by a poor diet, so aim to get more lean meat, fish, and dairy into your meals. But sometimes low levels are triggered by an absorption issue. If your diet is high in B12 but you shiver all the time, check in with your doctor for a vitamin B12 test.

You’re a woman

Find yourself in a constant battle with your spouse or male officemates for control of the thermostat? Turns out that feeling cold really is a gendered condition. “In general, women are better at conserving heat than men,” says Dr. Rohr. “In order to do this, women’s bodies are programmed to maintain blood flow to vital organs such as the brain and heart.” This directs blood flow toward these organs and away from less vital organs like hands and feet, says Dr. Rohr, which leaves these body parts chronically cold. Science bears this out: a University of Utah study found that though women had a slightly higher core body temperature than men, their hands came in at an average of 2.8 degrees cooler.

You have diabetes

Diabetes that’s not kept in check can lead to a condition called peripheral nephropathy, a constant attack on the nerves that provide sensation to your hands and feet, says Dr. Rohr. “When this develops, you experience numbness and sometimes pain in the hands and feet, and since these nerves are also responsible for sending message to the brain regarding temperature sensation, your hands and feet may feel cold,” she says. Diabetic nephropathy develops gradually, so you may not realize you have it. But if you are diabetic or have symptoms of the disease (frequent urination, feeling tired, and having increased thirst are three classic signs) see your doctor.

You need to bulk up your muscle mass

Muscle helps maintain body temperature by producing heat, says Dr. Rohr, so not having enough muscle tone contributes to feeling frosty. Also, having more muscle mass fires up your metabolism, which fights the perma-freeze feeling. Hitting the weight room at the gym or investing in free weights will help build the muscle that powers your furnace and functions like an internal blanket so you can throw off that wool one wrapped around your shivering shoulders.

This article originally appeared on Health.com

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TIME public health

5 Essential Tricks for Treating a Sunburn

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Remember to constantly moisturize your skin

Of course you understand the importance of sunscreen, but sometimes, no matter how diligent you were with reapplying, you still end up getting too much sun. While the damage of a sunburn can’t be undone (sadly), there are things you can do to speed up the healing process and soothe your red, inflamed skin. We asked Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in the department of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, about the best way to feel better fast.

Work from the inside out

So you’re on the way home from the beach, and one look in the rearview mirror tells you that you’re in trouble. As soon as you realize your skin is a little too red, take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pill like ibuprofen or aspirin, Dr. Zeichner recommends. This can help stop inflammation and redness from getting any worse and ease pain.

Cool down

Once you get to a shower, rinse off with cool water to soothe skin and remove any chlorine, salt water or sand that may be lingering and causing more irritation. Have a bath? Even better! Add a cup of whole oats to the cool bath water for extra calming power.

Moisturize

The sun zaps moisture from the skin, so be sure to replenish it regularly over the next few days with a rich moisturizer. Zeichner recommends looking for ones that contain aloe, glycerin or hyaluronic acid like Sun Bum Cool Down Aloe Spray ($12, nordstrom.com). If it’s a small area like your nose, neck or ears, try a 1% hydrocortisone ointment like Cortizone 10 Hydrocortisone Anti-Itch Cream Plus 10 Moisturizers ($9, walgreens.com) to reduce inflammation. Hot tip: Keep your moisturizers in the fridge for an extra refreshing treat.

Use a DIY compress

Try using a cool compress soaked in skim milk, egg whites or green tea. The proteins in milk and egg whites coat and calm the burn while green tea reduces inflammation.

Drink up

Not only does the sun take away the moisture from your skin, it also dehydrates the rest of your body as well, which is why you may also feel extra tired after a long day in the sun. Counteract the sun’s damage by drinking lots of water and eating water filled fruit like watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, or grapes.

This article originally appeared on Health.com

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3 Things You Can Catch from a Pool

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Outbreaks of illnesses from hot tubs and pools have been increasing in recent years

Think a chlorinated pool is a safe, sterile place? Think again. There are a few dangers lurking in a shared pool, whether at a gym, a community center or even a fancy resort. In fact, outbreaks of illnesses from hot tubs and pools have been increasing in recent years, with 90 outbreaks causing 1,788 illnesses and one death between 2011-2012, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Learn what icky things you can pick up, plus how to ward them off.

Diarrhea

One of the top causes of post-swim illness is a parasite called cryptosporidium (crypto for short), which leads to diarrhea, stomach pain and nausea. According to the new CDC report, of the 69 outbreaks associated with treated water, more than half were caused by crypto. Symptoms can last for up to two weeks. The parasite ends up in the water if feces (even trace amounts from someone who didn’t shower first) of an infected person gets in the pool. The bug is resistant to chlorine and survives outside the body for long periods.

Protect yourself: Crypto spreads when you accidentally swallow contaminated pool water or you touch your mouth before washing your hands. Don’t touch your face until you’ve had your post-swim shower, with soap and hot water.

Pinkeye

Burning eyes, excessive tearing and redness can occur because of an allergic reaction to chlorine, or an infection if the pool isn’t chlorinated enough. It can also happen if people aren’t showering before swimming or are (ugh!) peeing in the pool. Urine, as well as cosmetics and other chemicals that can wash off people’s skin, can irritate your eyes.

Protect yourself: You can shield your eyes from all of this by wearing a pair of well-fitting goggles every time you go for a dip.

Hot Tub Rash

This is an itchy skin infection that can lead to a bumpy, red rash, often worse in the areas covered by your bathing suit. Chlorine can easily kill the germ that causes it, but the warm water in a hot tub makes chlorine break down faster, so it’s more likely you’d pick it up there.

Protect Yourself: The risk of hot tub rash goes up the longer the contaminated water touches your skin, which is why it seems to show up in areas your wet bathing suit clings to. Save your dip in the hot tub for the end of your pool day, shower and change shortly after your soak and wash your swimsuit before wearing it again.

Contributed reporting by Amelia Harnish.

This article originally appeared on Health.com

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TIME

A Brain-Eating Parasite Has Killed a 21-Year-Old California Woman

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Mark Newman—AP 'Do Not Allow Water To Enter Your Nose' Amoeba (Naegleria fowleri) warning sign at thermal pool, Roger's Spring, Lake Mead, Nevada, U.S.A.

This is the second such fatality in the U.S. to occur in the last year

Public health officials have confirmed that a brain-eating amoeba caused the death of a 21-year-old woman in eastern California last month, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The woman contracted the parasite on private property in the town of Bishop, about 60 miles southeast of Yosemite National Park. She awoke from a nap last month with flu-like symptoms; physicians at Northern Inyo Hospital initially diagnosed her with meningitis. When her symptoms worsened, she was transported to a hospital in Reno, where she ultimately died of cardiac arrest.

Naegleria fowleri, as the amoeba is officially known, can thrive in warm freshwater and soil; infections result when contaminated water enters the nose, allowing the parasite to travel to the brain. It manifests itself first in flu-like symptoms — fever, vomiting, headaches — before inducing hallucinations, seizures, and, in more than 95 percent of instances, death.

This is the second naegleria fowleri-related fatality in the U.S. to occur in the last year. In July 2014, nine-year-old Hally Yust died from the infection after water skiing in a contaminated lake in Kansas. The majority of cases in the country have been in the southeast.

Health officials are eager to note, however, that the occurrences of the amoeba are rare and infections even rarer.

“I want to emphasize that there have been no evident cases of amoeba contamination in the U.S. in well-maintained, properly treated swimming pools or hot springs,” Richard Johnson, a public health officer in Inyo County, California, told the Times.

TIME Crime

Scientist Who Faked HIV Vaccine Research Sentenced to Prison

Dong-Pyou Han AIDS research
Charlie Neibergall—AP In this July 1, 2014 file photo, former Iowa State University researcher Dong-Pyou Han leaves the federal courthouse in Des Moines, Iowa.

He was sentenced to more than 4 ½ years in prison

(DES MOINES, Iowa)—A former Iowa State University scientist who altered blood samples to make it appear he had achieved a breakthrough toward a potential vaccine against HIV was sentenced Wednesday to more than 4 ½ years in prison for making false statements in research reports.

Dong-Pyou Han, 58, also must pay $7.2 million to a federal government agency that funded the research. He entered a plea agreement in February admitting guilt to two counts of making false statements.

Government prosecutors said Han’s misconduct dates to 2008 when he worked at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland under professor Michael Cho, who was leading a team testing an experimental HIV vaccine on rabbits. Cho’s team began receiving NIH funding, and he soon reported the vaccine was causing rabbits to develop antibodies to HIV, which was considered a major breakthrough. Han said he initially accidentally mixed human blood with rabbit blood making the potential vaccine appear to increase an immune defense against HIV, the virus that can cause AIDS. Han continued to spike the results to avoid disappointing Cho, his mentor, after the scientific community became excited that the team could be on the verge of a vaccine.

Iowa State recruited Cho in 2009, and his team — including Han — continue the research with NIH funding. A group of researchers at Harvard University found in January 2013 the promising results had been achieved with rabbit blood spiked with human antibodies.

Han’s attorney Joseph Herrold, a federal public defender, asked for probation instead of prison.

“Here, there is little reason to believe that Dr. Han has not already been deterred from any future criminal conduct. His conduct is aberrational in an otherwise admirable life,” Herrold wrote in a sentencing report filed Monday. “He regrets the hurt he has caused to his friends and colleagues, the damage he has caused to government funded scientific research, and the pain he has caused any members of the public who had high hopes based on his falsehood.”

Herrold said Han has lost the ability to work in his field of choice and is likely to be deported by immigration officials “and possibly never permitted to return,” separating him from his wife and two adult children who are U.S. citizens. Han, who was born in Seoul, South Korea, is a lawful permanent U.S. resident.

Government prosecutors sought prison time to serve as a deterrent to Han and others who might consider research fraud.

“It is important that we stand up not just for punishing the fraud committed against the United States government, but for the research that should be legitimately taking place on this devastating disease,” U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt said in a statement.

Judge James Gritzner sentenced Han to 57 months in prison and three years of supervision upon release. Han must repay the National Institutes of Health $7.2 million.

Cho’s team continues to work on the vaccine at ISU and has subsequently obtained funding.

TIME medicine

FDA Approves New Cystic Fibrosis Drug

Disease Drugs vertex cystic fibrosis
Gregory Bull—AP In this March 4, 2015 photo, research scientist Tony Huang works in a laboratory at Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. in San Diego.

It will cost more than $250,000 a year

(WASHINGTON)—Federal health officials have approved a new combination drug for the most common form of cystic fibrosis, the debilitating inherited disease that causes internal mucus buildup, lung infections and early death. But it will come at a steep price — more than $250,000 for a year’s treatment.

The Food and Drug Administration cleared the twice-a-day pill from Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. for a variation of cystic fibrosis that affects about 8,500 people in the U.S. who are 12 years and older. The approval notice was posted to the agency’s website Thursday.

The new drug — to be sold as Orkambi — is Vertex’s follow-up to its breakthrough pill Kalydeco, which became the first drug to treat the underlying cause of cystic fibrosis in 2012. Orkambi combines Kalydeco with a new drug ingredient, lumacaftor.

Kalydeco is only approved for a cluster of rare cystic fibrosis forms that affect about 2,000 patients who are 2 years old and up.

About 30,000 Americans live with cystic fibrosis, which is caused by variety of genetic mutations passed from parents to their children. The disease causes sticky mucus to buildup in the lungs and other organs, which leads to infections, digestive problems and eventually death.

Vertex said Orkambi will cost $259,000 per year. That’s less than the $311,000 annual price tag for Kalydeco.

Dr. Robert Giusti of New York University’s Langone Medical Center noted that half of all U.S. cystic fibrosis patients have the form targeted by Orkambi, which occurs when a child inherits two copies of a certain genetic mutation — one from each parent. He expects the FDA will eventually expand the drug’s approval to patients as young as 6, increasing the number of people who could benefit.

“This is really exciting because this is a disease that causes a 1 to 2 percent deterioration each year in lung function of patients,” said Giusti, who directs the center’s cystic fibrosis program. “Now they have a therapy available to potentially reverse that effect.”

In the 1950s, children with cystic fibrosis seldom survived long enough to complete elementary school. Due to improvements in care, the typical cystic fibrosis patient today can expect to survive into their early 40s, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Prior to the approval of Kalydeco, drugs used to treat cystic fibrosis focused on controlling symptoms — such as opening up lung airways and breaking up mucus. Kalydeco was the first drug to target the underlying genetic defect that causes the disease.

Expectations for Vertex’s new drug have been tempered by study results that, while statistically significant, were not as dramatic as those first reported with Kalydeco. In company trials, patients treated with Orkambi for six months reported a 2.5 to 3 percent improvement in lung function, a key measure for cystic fibrosis patients. That improvement met the FDA’s standards for effectiveness, but did not equal results seen with Kalydeco, which improved lung function by about 10 percent.

Company officials have pointed out the differences in the forms of the disease targeted by the two drugs. Kalydeco was developed for patients who have a problem with a protein on their cell walls, which doesn’t properly balance the flow of water and salt from the cell. Orkambi targets patients with two problems — the protein does not reach the cell wall and, once there, does not work properly.

Shares of Vertex rose $5.07, or 4 percent, to close at $131.26 in trading Thursday. Its shares are up almost 34 percent over the past year.

Vertex’s cystic fibrosis drugs grew out of a long-term partnership with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated received roughly $120 million in research and funding from the foundation, culminating in the 2012 approval of Kalydeco. The twice-a-day pill had sales of $464 million last year, according to the Cambridge, Massachusetts company.

Last November the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation sold its royalty rights to Kalydeco and Orkambi for $3.3 billion.

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