TIME Pakistan

Militants Gun Down Pakistan Health Workers as Polio Crisis Intensifies

Hospital staff stand near the bodies of anti-polio drive campaign workers who were shot by gunmen, at a hospital morgue in Quetta
Hospital staff stand near the bodies of antipolio campaign workers who were shot by gunmen, at a hospital morgue in Quetta, Pakistan, on Nov. 26, 2014 Naseer Ahmed—Reuters

There have been 260 new cases of polio diagnosed in the South Asian nation this year

Public-health workers continue to be gunned down at will by Islamic militants across Pakistan, where ongoing attacks against vaccination teams have hampered the government’s ability to rein in a spiraling polio crisis.

On Wednesday, heavily armed militants in the Baluchistan region capital of Quetta mowed down members of an antipolio campaign, leaving four public-health workers dead and three others injured. Survivors of the ambush chided government officials for failing to provide sufficient security for the team.

“Two men on a motorcycle stopped our car and started shooting. No security arrangements were made,” one of the victims told the Pakistani newspaper Dawn. “We called everyone, but no one came to our rescue.”

The bloody scene in Quetta this week has sadly become all too familiar in conflict-riven Pakistan. On Monday, near the city of Peshawar, gunmen mounted on a motorcycle shot and injured another polio health worker. A Taliban splinter group later claimed responsibility for the attack and issued a statement deriding the polio vaccine as “dangerous to health” and “against Islam,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

The uptick in brazen attacks against health workers has saddled Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s embattled administration with renewed criticism, after he made boisterous promises during his campaign in 2013 to make peace with Taliban forces.

“Such cowardly attacks against our goal of polio-free Pakistan will further strengthen our resolve to stamp this menace out of the country,” Ayesha Raza Farooq, the Pakistani Prime Minister’s focal person on polio eradication, said in a statement on Monday. “I urge the provincial government to take all measures necessary to protect the polio teams and ensure safe conduct of polio campaigns.”

The militants’ suspicion of vaccination programs has been fueled in large part by the bogus hepatitis B campaign crafted by U.S. clandestine officials searching for Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011, which later lead to the dramatic killing of the al-Qaeda chief by Navy Seals.

In 2012, Taliban forces operating in the country’s tribal belt banned polio vaccinations and began openly attacking public-health officials trying to administer inoculations. More than 60 public-health workers have been killed in the country since the declaration.

Since 2012, transmission of the virus has been most intense in the country’s restive Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). But following an offensive launched by the Pakistani military against insurgents in FATA’s North Waziristan in June, close to 1 million people fled the area. As a result of the exodus, the polio epidemic has spread to other parts of Pakistan that had previously been unexposed to the highly contagious virus.

In the onslaught’s wake, public-health officials claim to have vaccinated more than 1 million people in the past few months, including 850,000 children under the age of 10, who were previously inaccessible, according to the Global Polio Initiative. Still, polio continues to spread across the country.

Public-health officials confirmed this week the existence of 260 new polio cases in Pakistan this year — a fourfold increase since the same duration in 2013, according to the New York Times. Pakistan is one of just three countries where polio remains endemic.

TIME ebola

Ebola Cases in Sierra Leone Will ‘Soon Eclipse’ Liberia

Members of the burial team carry a body to his grave at King Tom Cemetery in Freetown, Sierra Leone, on Nov. 19, 2014.
Members of the burial team carry a body to his grave at King Tom Cemetery in Freetown, Sierra Leone, on Nov. 19, 2014. The Washington Post/Getty Images

1,339 cases of the country's 6,599 overall were recorded in three weeks in November

Sierra Leone will “soon” dethrone Liberia as the hardest-hit country in West Africa’s Ebola outbreak, the World Health Organization cautioned Wednesday.

Nearly one-fifth of Sierra Leone’s total cases of Ebola were reported in a three-week period that ended Sunday, according to new figures released by the global health agency. WHO reports that 1,339 of the country’s 6,599 known cases (including 1,398 deaths) were reported in the 21 days prior to Nov. 23.

Six hundred cases were reported throughout the three most-affected countries overall in the past week.

Transmission remains “intense” in Sierra Leone, the assessment states, mostly due to heavy transmission in the western and northern regions. That’s in contrast with Guinea, where more than 2,100 cases (including 1,260 deaths) have been reported, and in Liberia, which is currently the worst-hit, with 3,016 of its 7,168 cases having proven fatal.

The uptick comes after the United Nations recently announced it will not reach its goal of Ebola containment in the three most-impacted nations by Dec. 1.

The U.N. Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) has deployed personnel and resources to West Africa to control the outbreak. Some experts say more mobile treatment facilities are needed instead of large 100+ bed facilities, since many of the countries’ outbreaks are popping up in regions that are more spread out and hard to reach.

In Sierra Leone, however, the capital of Freetown remains the worst-affected area. Overall, more than 15,935 people have contracted the virus, resulting in at least 5,689 deaths.

TIME Cancer

Scientists Discover a New Way to Predict Blood Cancer

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Scientists may be able to detect cancer risk in the blood much, much earlier

Two different groups of researchers have unintentionally come to the same conclusion: some people have a marker in their blood that signals an increases risk of developing blood cancers like leukemia or lymphoma. Two new studies published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine reveal that certain mutations that are not present at birth but instead develop as a person ages—called somatic mutations—may be indicators for later blood cancers.

According to DNA blood samples collected from healthy people, the researchers were able to show that people with certain somatic mutations in their blood were 10 times as likely than for people without the mutations to develop these rare cancers. Those who carried the mutations had a 5% risk of developing the cancers within five years after having their DNA sampled and tested.

The findings were discovered by researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Harvard Medical School, and Harvard-affiliated hospitals, but not all together. In one study, researchers thought it would be possible to detect these mutations in blood, given the likelihood that getting blood cancers increases with age. They found this to be true, and they also found that the mutations indicated a higher risk for other diseases like type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and ischemic stroke. The latter findings still need to be confirmed.

The researchers of the second study were initially looking at something completely separate. When they started their study, they were analyzing whether somatic mutations had anything to do with the risk for schizophrenia. But during their research they discovered that the mutations they found were concentrated in specific genes: cancer genes. By following the patients in their study, they discovered a link between the mutations and a high risk for blood cancer.

In a statement, the study authors say having similar findings from both approaches corroborates each others’ findings.

Steven McCarroll, a senior author of the second study and an assistant professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, says the research is still too early for there to be any clinical benefit for patients.

“I imagine there’s some debate about whether some people might want the information, but today there’s not a way for people to benefit medically from having the information,” McCarroll tells TIME, because there’s no surgery they can undergo or preventive drug they can take. “But, I am hopeful over the next couple of years that a lot of people will start working on this because it will open the door to new strategies for early detection and prevention.”

TIME

Ebola Vaccine Is Safe and Effective, According to First Study

Trials of a vaccine against Ebola show that it is safe and able to trigger an immune response against the virus

In the first results from tests on an experimental Ebola vaccine, researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) report for the first time Wednesday that the shot is safe and that it leads to an immune response among healthy volunteers. The vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and GlaxoSmithKline, was tested in 20 participants in the US at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda.

“This tells us that this is kind of a positive signal about moving to the next stage,” says Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of NIAID.

MORE: We’re Getting Closer to Vaccines and Drugs for Ebola

The vaccine is meant to protect uninfected people from Ebola, and, if effective, would be tested next in populations in high-risk areas such as west Africa, where the outbreak is ongoing, to immunize them against the virus. It does not contain live Ebola virus, but does contain snippets of its protein coat, just enough to alert the immune system to produce antibodies and immune cells that can recognize and destroy any live viruses that people might eventually encounter. The pieces of Ebola protein are introduced to the body via another virus, one related to the common cold that infects chimps.

The shot was tested in two doses among 10 people each; it triggered antibodies and immune cells that in primate studies were enough to protect them against a challenge of Ebola up to 10 months later. Whether that’s also the case among people won’t be known until the vaccine is tested among thousands more in west Africa, including health care workers and family members of ill patients, who are most vulnerable to getting exposed to the virus.

Only two people reported brief fevers after getting vaccinated.

MORE: Here’s How the Ebola Vaccine Trial Is Doing

The vaccine is one of two that scientists are preparing to test in the outbreak zone beginning in early 2015. Another candidate uses an entirely different approach involving a live Ebola virus that has been crippled so it can’t reproduce once it infects a person. The advantage to that system is that it might launch a stronger and more robust immune response than the NIAID and GSK shot, which may require a boost after several months to maintain strong immune protection against Ebola. “At the end of the day, you don’t know which is the most effective until you test them, and that’s the point,” says Fauci.

TIME Cancer

U.S. Smoking Rate Hits Historic Low

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And the number of people who say they smoke every day has dropped, too

Cigarette smoking among American adults has hit at an all-time low, health officials said Wednesday.

The percentage of smokers over the age of 18 dropped from 20.9% in 2005 to 17.8% in 2013, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report. That’s the lowest rate of smoking adults since the CDC started tracking the numbers via its National Health Interview Survey in 1965. Over the course of eight years, the number of U.S. smokers dropped from 45.1 million to 42.1 million, the report reveals.

Still, the CDC worries too many Americans still smoke, and a Nov. 13 report from the agency showed that a high number of young people still smoke, putting millions at risk for premature death.

The good news for health officials is that people seem to be cutting back, if not quitting. The number of people who smoke every day has dropped nearly 4% from 2005 to 2013, and the proportion of smokers who smoke only some days has increased. Of course, smoking less habitually still poses tremendous danger for the health.

“Though smokers are smoking fewer cigarettes, cutting back by a few cigarettes a day rather than quitting completely does not produce significant health benefits,” said Brian King, a senior scientific adviser with the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, in a statement.

Cigarette smoking continues to be the leading cause of preventable death among Americans, reportedly racks up $289 billion a year in medical costs and productivity loss.

Around 70% of all cigarette smokers want to kick the habit, and if a smoker quits by the time they turn 40, they can gain almost all of the 10 years of life expectancy they lose by smoking.

Americans who want to quit smoking can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free counseling and resources, or visit the CDC’s antismoking tips site here.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

5 Healthy Baking Swaps You Need to Try

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Healthier, more delicious desserts

For me, baking is pure bliss. I love whipping up brownies, cupcakes, cookies, pies, and cornbread. But as a nutritionist, I also want to feel good about my goodies, whether I’m eating them myself or sharing them with friends and family. To that end I’m always playing around with better-for-you ingredient substitutions.

Here are five swaps that will shore up your baked goods’ nutritional profile, while also enhancing the flavor and texture (I promise!)

Trade butter for avocado

I’ve heard avocado referred to as nature’s butter, and the name truly fits. I enjoy avocado’s creamy goodness whipped into smoothies, spread on whole grain toast, or as the base for a dip, but it’s also fantastic in baked good recipes. Just trade each tablespoon of butter in a recipe for half a tablespoon of avocado. This swap slashes calories, and still provides the satisfying texture you crave in a dessert, while also delivering heart-healthier, waistline-trimming monounsaturated fat (MUFAs for short), and significantly boosting the vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant makeup of your treat. Just one note: you might want to use this trick in recipes with cocoa, which masks the color. I’ve used avocado in blondies and cookies, and while the texture and flavor were fantastic, there was a distinct green tint!

HEALTH.COM: 9 Healthier Dessert Recipes for Fall

Replace wheat flour with bean flour

While I tested negative for Celiac disease I do feel better when I avoid gluten. Fortunately there are a number of gluten-free flours ideal for baking that also add bonus fiber, protein, and nutrients. One of my favorites is garbanzo bean flour. A quarter cup packs 5g of fiber (versus just 1g in the same amount of all-purpose flour) and I love the nutty flavor and heartiness—but not heaviness—it adds to brownies and muffins. Substitute it in a one-to-one swap for all-purpose or wheat flour. It should work well in any baking recipe.

HEALTH.COM: 16 Easy, Guilt-Free Cookie Recipes

Use coconut oil in place of shortening

Shortening and coconut oil look similar in that both are generally white and solid at room temperature. The difference is shortening is solid because a liquid oil was hydrogenated to make it solid—a man-made process that’s far from natural. Partial hydrogenation creates trans fat, the nutritional villain that’s been linked to a host of health problems, from heart disease and type 2 diabetes to fertility challenges. Fully hydrogenated oil (aka interesterified oil), while technically trans fat free, may be even worse for your health. A Brandeis University study found that subjects who consumed products made with interesterified oil experienced a decrease in their “good” HDL cholesterol a significant rise in blood sugar—about a 20% spike in just four weeks.

Enter coconut oil, a natural plant-based fat, which also supplies antioxidants similar to those found in berries, grapes, and dark chocolate. While high in saturated fat, newer research confirms that not all saturated fats are bad for you. Coconut oil contains a type called medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, which are metabolized in a unique way. This good fat has actually been shown to up “good” HDL, reduce waist circumference, and increase calorie burning. For baking, substitute it one-for-one for shortening. It’s amazing in pie crust and chocolate chip cookies!

HEALTH.COM: Good Fats, Bad Fats: How to Choose

Swap some sugar for pureed fruit

While fat used to be public enemy #1, today’s nutritional wisdom dictates including good fats (such as avocado and coconut oil) and shunning refined sugar. While removing it entirely in baking isn’t always possible, I have found that I can replace up to 50% of it with pureed fruit, such as bananas, pears, apples, mangoes, papayas, and dried dates or figs pureed with water. In addition to being bundled with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, the naturally occurring sugar in fruit is much less concentrated. For example, a quarter cup (4 tablespoons) of mashed banana contains less than 7 grams of sugar, compared to 12 grams in just one tablespoon of table sugar. The replacement ratio can be a little tricky, because some fruits are sweeter than others, but I often find that a quarter cup of pureed fruit can replace a half cup of sugar. (Note: I don’t like my baked goods overly sweet, so some bakers may prefer a one-to-one replacement.) And because fruit has a higher water content, you’ll also need to reduce the liquid in the recipe a bit, typically by a quarter cup.

HEALTH.COM: 23 Superfruits You Need Now

Upgrade chocolate chips to dark chocolate chunks

I’m always singing the praises of dark chocolate, and the research just keeps coming. A recent study found that gut bacteria ferment dark chocolate to produce substances that fight inflammation, a known trigger of aging and diseases, including obesity. Most of the research about chocolate’s benefits has been done with 70% dark, and the chocolate chips you’ll find in the baking aisle are likely 34% or less (I have seen one brand of 70% but it can be hard to find and quite expensive), so I recommend using a chopped dark chocolate bar instead. It’s easy peasy, and some research shows that chocolate’s aroma, which is released when it’s chopped, pre-sates the palate, which may naturally help you gobble less of the goodies. P.S. If you love chocolate, check out my vegan chocolate brownie recipe with a secret superstar ingredient (hint: it’s a veggie). To make them gluten-free use garbanzo bean flour in place of the whole wheat pastry flour.

HEALTH.COM: 7 Healthy Holiday Cookie Recipes

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

Is Turkey Actually Good For You?

Gobble, gobble?

Welcome to Should I Eat This?—our weekly poll of five experts who answer nutrition questions that gnaw at you.

should i eat turkey
Illustration by Lon Tweeten for TIME

4/5 experts say yes.

As if you needed our blessing—but for the most part, experts say you can feel good about your Thanksgiving main dish. All of the bird lovers applauded turkey’s lean, filling protein. It packs the entire spectrum of B vitamins, in addition to selenium and potassium.

Two experts recommended skipping the skin, if you’re watching calories. Skin adds 35 calories to a typical 3.5-ounce serving, says Harriette R. Mogul, MD, MPH, associate professor of clinical medicine at New York Medical College. And sans skin, turkey’s low in saturated fat, says Kylene Bogden, registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic.

Don’t fall for the tryptophan myth, either. Tryptophan, an amino acid that promotes sleepy-time serotonin, is no more abundant in turkey than in many other meats. “In truth, it’s those carbohydrate-laden trimmings, not the turkey, that promote that all too familiar post-prandial sleepiness on Thanksgiving Day,” Mogul says. Because it’s so rich in protein, turkey stabilizes insulin levels after a meal and actually diminishes sleepiness, she says.

But serving a turkey isn’t all wishbones and three-cornered hats. “Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful and to enjoy the company of loved ones, and we can do that without killing an animal,” says Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, an animal rescue organization (and past subject of TIME’s 10 Questions). “In addition to all of the delicious traditional Thanksgiving dishes that are naturally plant-based, there are countless plant-based turkey alternatives widely available on the market today that make it easy to skip the dead bird.” Instead, Farm Sanctuary urges you to Adopt a Turkey for $30—color photo and “fun details about your new friend” included. Sponsor a whole flock for $210—the perfect holiday gift.

If you’re committed to eating the bird, however, choose wisely, says Stacia Clinton, RD, regional director of Health Care Without Harm. “Turkeys raised conventionally are routinely given antibiotics,” she says, in order to prevent the spread of turkey illness in crowded conditions. “This is causing the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria that threaten our health by reaching us through air, water, and contaminating the meat we purchase,” she says. This year, Health Care Without Harm asked clinicians to pledge to buy drug-free turkeys from local farms that don’t use antibiotics in feed or water.

Cage-free, vegetarian-fed and antibiotic-free turkeys are a must, agrees Theo Weening, global meat buyer for Whole Foods Market. But please, for the sake of flavor, make sure yours is truly fresh, too, he says—it cooks faster and tastes better. “It’s a little known fact that when you buy a ‘fresh’ turkey from many conventional grocers, it can actually be from birds that have been harvested 9 months or more before Thanksgiving,” he says. “Before taking home your turkey, ask your butcher when it was harvested and where it came from.”’

Now that’s talking turkey.

TIME holiday

Deepak Chopra on Why Gratitude is Good For You

The alternative medicine advocate says practicing thankfulness can help eliminate toxic feelings

Don’t stress too much about those Thanksgiving calories, because the emotional work you do at the dinner table could be good for your spiritual health. At least that’s what physician, holistic medicine expert and bestselling author Deepak Chopra says.

Chopra, who most recently wrote The Future of God: A Practical Approach to Spirituality for Our Times, says expressing gratitude on Thanksgiving isn’t just tradition—it’s also good for the body and spirit. And in a month when many Americans may be feeling worried or disappointed (about everything from the severe weather, to the unrest in Ferguson and the disturbing allegations against Bill Cosby), an effort to be more grateful can help get rid of those “toxic” feelings, if just for one night. “Anger and hostility can be inflammatory not only in your mind but in your body,” he said. “Gratitude is healing. It expands your awareness and shifts your focus from something that’s actually hurting you to something that is healing.”

But it’s not enough to just gorge yourself on sweet potatoes and bicker over the drumstick– you have to actually deliberately practice gratitude in order to reap the spiritual benefits.

“You can do a simple meditation where you quiet your mind, put your attention in your hear and just ask yourself ‘what am i grateful for?’ If you just ask the question in your own stillness, things will come up…You don’t have to go looking for the answer, you just have to ask the question and then allow any sensation, image, feeling or thought to come to you…People who practice this kind of ritual, they have a boost in their immune functioning, a shift in their hormones, it’s pretty interesting what happens even at the level of cell markers of information…This kind of thing actually has very powerful biological consequences.”

So stop stressing about how much pie you’re eating and focus instead on what’s good in your life. It’s healthy.

 

 

TIME Research

6 Breath Tests That Can Diagnose Disease

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A new study uses breath to diagnoses diabetes, but other diseases like cancer and obesity may be breath-detectable too

A new study shows that it may be possible to diagnose type 1 diabetes in kids even before the onset of severe illness.

Currently, about one in four kids with type 1 diabetes don’t know they have it until they start having life-threatening symptoms. However, a new study published in the Journal of Breath Research shows researchers might be able to diagnose the disease by detecting a chemical marker (acetone) in the breath that makes it smell sweet, but indicates a build-up of chemicals in the blood (ketones) that occurs when a person’s insulin levels are low. High levels of acetone in the breath can indicate high levels of ketones in the blood. The hope is that if proven effective, this breath test will help physicians make a diagnosis earlier.

Growing research suggests breath tests can be used to detect a variety of diseases, from diabetes to various cancers. Research is still early in some areas—and there are other factors beyond disease that can result in chemical markers in the blood and breath—but some medical institutions are already using the tests of a variety of diagnosis.

Type 1 Diabetes
In the new study, researchers collected compounds in the breath from 113 children and adolescents between the ages 7 and 18. They also measured the kids’ blood-sugar and ketone levels. They found a link between higher levels of acetone in the breath and ketones in the blood. “Our results have shown that it is realistically possible to use measurements of breath acetone to estimate blood ketones,” said study author Gus Hancock, a professor at Oxford in a statement. “We are working on the development of a small hand-held device that would … help to identify children with new diabetes.”

Colorectal Cancer
In a small study published in 2012 in the British Journal of Surgery, researchers from the the University Aldo Moro of Bari in Italy collected the breath of 37 patients with colorectal cancer and 41 healthy control participants. The researchers were measuring the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the participants’ breath, with the thought being that cancer tissues and cells may release distinct chemicals. The researchers were able to identify 15 of 58 specific compounds that were correlated with colorectal cancer. Based on this, the were also able to distinguish between cancer patients and healthy patients with 75% accuracy.

Lung Cancer
In 2013, researchers from the University of Latvia used an electronic nose-like device to identify a unique chemical signature in lung cancer patients. As TIME has previously reported, there are several groups who think this process can be standardized for cancer with further research. In June, scientists at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago presented a device they think has real promise.

Obesity
There are obviously a number of ways that obesity can be diagnosed without a breath test, but a 2013 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that obese people had unique markers in their breath, too. Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center studied the breath of 792 men and women trying to detect methane. Those with higher levels of methane and hydrogen gases in their breath also tended to be heavier with a BMI around 2.4 points greater than those with normal gas levels. The hope, the researchers say, is that a test could be developed that could detect a type of bacteria that may be involved in both weight and levels of gas in the breath. There may be ways to clinically curb that bacteria growth.

Lactose Intolerance
Johns Hopkins Medicine uses breath testing to help diagnose lactose intolerance. Patients drink a lactose-heavy drink and clinicians will analyzed the breath for hydrogen, which is produced when lactose isn’t digested and is fermented by bacteria.

Fructose Intolerance
Johns Hopkins also uses breath tests to assess whether an individual is allergic or intolerant to fructose, a sugar used to sweeten some beverage and found naturally in foods like onions, artichokes, and wheat. The test is similar to a breath test for lactose intolerance. Patients will drink a cup of water with dissolved fructose and over a three hour period, clinicians will test their breath. Once again, a high presence of hydrogen can indicate that the patient is not properly digesting it.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

Here’s The Scientific Way To Make A Perfect Pumpkin Pie

Prebake the crust for pumpkin pie before filling

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The kind of fat that goes into a pie dough can totally change the chemistry of the crust—and for a supremely flaky crust, you can’t beat lard, as former White House pastry chef Bill Yosses explains in the above selection from the 2014 World Science Festival event “Biophysics? More like Pie-o-Physics!” (Yosses is something of an authority on deliciousness; earlier this year, President Obama joked that his pies were so good he must be lacing them with crack cocaine.)

But traditional Thanksgiving fare presents additional “pie-o-physics” conundrums. Pumpkin pie filling is closer on the pastry evolutionary tree to flan or custard. Baking one requires some special considerations, according to Yosses.

In pumpkin pie, “the eggs coagulate to form a silken smooth network,” Yosses told us. “The egg proteins shrink as they cook, and you need to stop the process at the right time.” The time to remove a pumpkin pie, he says, is when it is “set,” but the center should still jiggle when shaken in the oven. “This is sensitive because too little cooking and the pie will be liquid.”

To avoid overcooking his pumpkin pies, one trick Yosses likes to employ is to lower the bottom of pie dish into cold water for about 30 seconds right after taking it out of the oven (take care not to splash water or burn yourself). This will stop the protein threads from continuing to cook.

“I like a filling made with acorn squash and some sugar pumpkin, and I love trying all kinds of vegetable and ginger variations—but then it is not really a pumpkin pie,” Yosses says. He prebakes the crust for his pumpkin pie before filling. If you do the same, but don’t want an extra-crispy edge on the crust that forms during the second round in the oven, he recommends covering the edge with aluminum foil before baking.

If any foodies reading this feel guilty about going with canned pumpkin instead of the fresh stuff, take comfort in the fact that Yosses himself often reaches for a can of Libby’s pumpkin pie mix. As he says: “Why reinvent the wheel?”

This piece originally appeared on World Science Festival.

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