TIME ebola

U.S. to Grant Temporary Protection Status for People From Ebola-Hit Nations in West Africa

Liberia Battles Spreading Ebola Epidemic
A mother and child stand atop their mattresses in a classroom now used as Ebola isolation ward on August 15, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. John Moore—Getty Images

People from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone who were in the U.S. as of Thursday

The United States will issue a temporary protected status to people residing in the country from the three nations hit hardest by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, homeland security officials said in a report Thursday.

Reuters reports that people from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone who were in the U.S. as of Thursday would be eligible for deportation protection for at least 18 months and could also apply for work permits. The 8,000 people estimated to be eligible will be unable to visit home and return in a bid to prevent more Ebola cases arriving in the U.S.

Any extension of the protection will be reassessed after 18 months based on how severe the Ebola outbreak remains in West Africa, the report adds. More than 5,000 people have died from the virus in the worst outbreak in recorded history, the World Health Organization reports.

Read more at Reuters

TIME

Ebola Virus In Semen: Everything You Want to Know

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LARRY MULVEHILL—Getty Images/Photo Researchers RM

An Indian man who survived Ebola was quarantined when his blood tested negative but his semen tested positive

An Indian man who survived Ebola in Liberia was quarantined at an airport in Delhi when his semen tested positive for the disease.

What’s confusing is that man had multiple blood samples tested for Ebola and they all came back negative. Based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, that means he’s free of Ebola. Still, the issue raises some questions that perhaps you’re too squeamish to ask. So we asked the CDC for you.

The answers to these questions were provided by CDC spokesperson Salina Smith.

1. So, Ebola can live in semen?
Yes, it can. The CDC says semen can test positive after clinical clearance—a negative blood test for Ebola—for up to three months. The agency recommends those who have survived Ebola abstain from sex, including oral sex, for at least three months. If abstinence cannot be followed, condoms should be worn.

2. Why does Ebola survive in semen longer than blood?
Semen and blood are different types of body fluids, and scientifically, the testes are known as immunologically “privileged” sites. Basically it’s easier for the virus to hide and avoid being attacked by the immune system in the reproductive system.

3. Why is someone deemed “cured” of the virus if it’s negative in their blood, but positive in their semen?
Theoretically it’s possible that Ebola could be transmitted via contact with Ebola-positive semen, but there is no evidence to date that this has ever happened. It may be that the virus is a more efficient transmitter in blood. What we know for a fact is that exposure to blood that’s positive for Ebola can infect other people.

4. Does the CDC explicitly recommend abstinence to every patient who survives Ebola?
The CDC’s guidance in the field is this: If the patient is a man, he should be informed that his semen can still be infectious for three months and that he must avoid or have protected sexual relations during this period. The patient and his partner are well counseled on this, and must have it clearly explained to them. A CDC medical team is supposed to provide them with enough condoms for that period. The CDC recommends this warning also be included on the patient’s discharge papers.

5. Does the CDC ever test patients’ semen?
The CDC does test the semen of patients who are medically evacuated to the United States. The agency also asks if patients in the United States would like to have their semen tested periodically so that the CDC can gain a better idea of how long the virus lasts.

6. Was it unusual that the Indian patient’s semen was tested?
No.

TIME Aging

Why Complex Jobs Protect Aging Brains Better

The more engaging your job, the sharper your thinking skills

Studies show that there are a lot of things you can do to preserve your intellect—stay social and interact with as many friends and family as you can, learn new things (especially languages), go to new places and stay physically active. If there’s any time left over, consider getting a more engaging career. There’s now evidence that what you do to make a living can also help to preserve your brain power.

Reporting in the journal Neurology, scientists at the University of Edinburgh found that the more complex a person’s job is, the more likely they are to score higher on memory tests and general cognitive skills when they reach age 70.

MORE: Cocoa May Help With Memory Loss, a New Study Finds

The team recruited about 1,000 69-year-olds who were part of the Lothian Birth Cohort, a database that included people born in the Scottish town in 1936. At age 11, the participants had taken IQ tests so the researchers could compare those scores to cognitive tests given to them at age 70.

In the study, researchers assessed their occupations by their complexity, based on how much interaction with people, data or things the job required. Complex “people” jobs, for example, include lawyer, social worker, surgeon or probation officer, compared to less socially complex jobs like factory worker, or painter. Complex “data” occupations include architect, graphic designer and musician, while less complex data jobs include construction worker, cafeteria worker or telephone operator. Finally, people working in more intricate ways with “things” would include machine workers and those who make instruments, while bank managers and surveyors might rank as having simpler interactions with things.

When the scientists compared occupations with cognitive tests at age 70, they found that people with more complex people and data jobs scored higher on memory, speed and general thinking skills than those with less involved jobs in these areas. People with more complex data-related jobs also scored much better on processing and speed skills.

MORE: 5 Secrets to Improve Learning and Memory

But when the researchers factored in the effect of the participants’ IQ at age 11—in other words, their starting intellect—they found that the influence of the jobs remained, though it shrunk a bit. “People who have higher cognitive ability to begin with are those more likely to have more complex jobs,” says Alan Gow, assistant professor of psychology at University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University and one of the study’s co-authors. “Once we account for that, the association between more complex jobs and better cognitive outcomes is reduced, but there remains a small additional benefit for our cognitive abilities from being in more complex jobs.”

In fact, he says, the strongest predictor of cognitive abilities at age 70 is intellect earlier in life. So the IQ of the participants at age 11 accounted for about 50% of the variance in test scores when they reached 70. Jobs can add to that effect. The stronger the cognitive starting point, the more brain reserve people might have as the normal processes of aging start erode some nerve connections involved in higher order thinking. Having a complex job that requires constant activation of these neural networks, and formation of new connections, can also contribute to building this reserve capacity.

Gow admits, however, that the study did not take into account how long people stuck with the jobs, so there may yet be a stronger effect of occupation on later life intellect the longer people stay with a complex job. Given the results, he and his team are eagerly following the 70-year olds to see if occupation and other factors can influence their cognitive functions. Now, they’re studying brain images of the volunteers to find changes in volume in certain thinking areas of the brain, as well as connections in the nerve network that’s responsible for higher order skills like processing, memory and reasoning.

TIME

Your Pharmacist Called. You Owe $1.3 trillion

A new report predicts that drug spending will shoot up 30% by 2018

Here’s a shocker: global spending on drugs is going up. Way up.

A new report from IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics projects the world will shell out $1.3 trillion for medications in 2018, a 30% increase over the figure in 2013.

The proliferation of new, pricey specialty medications like Sovaldi, Gilead’s $84,000 Hepatitis C wonder drug, has something to do with this spending increase, particularly in developed markets, but so does an aging population and increased accessibility of healthcare around the globe.

Take the U.S., the world’s largest drug market, where spending is forecast to rise 11.7% in 2014. New innovative treatments— particularly for cancer, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders—are one bigger driver for this, but so is Obamacare, which has expanded the number of individuals receiving medical care. (The spending increase in the U.S. this year was particularly dramatic because of the small number of drugs that went off patent. Also, the $1.3 trillion figure does not reflect the impact of rebates and discounts, pricing adjustments that are increasingly common in the modern health care landscape.)

A growing middle class and the adoption of universal healthcare is fueling drug spending in other parts of the world. Generics, rather than branded drugs, dominate these markets: IMS predicts spending on pain medication, the largest category of drugs in developing marketing, will increase roughly 10% annually. (IMS pegs the compound annual growth rate at between 8% and 11%.)

The rise in drug spending isn’t inexorable. The research firm points out that France and Spain are likely to see drug spending decrease, thanks in part to cost containment efforts.

The world is in a relative sweet spot for drug innovation. Whisked along by the FDA’s new breakthrough drug designations, the number of launches of novel medications will remain high in the coming years, IMS says. That’s particularly true in oncology. Cancer drugs account for 30% of the world’s pharmaceutical pipeline, and sales are expected to top $100 billion in 2018, largely because of breakthrough immunotherapy treatments.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME health

Smoking News to Make You Cringe

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Stephen St. John—Getty Images/National Geographic Creative

Read TIME's reports from the era when the medical community thought it was O.K. to smoke

Thursday marks the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout (GASO), a nationwide event encouraging smokers to kick the habit.

We know today that cigarette smoking causes serious diseases in every organ of the body, including lung cancer, diabetes, colorectal and liver cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, erectile dysfunction, age-related macular degeneration, and more. Tobacco use rakes up more than $96 billion a year in medical costs, and it’s estimated that 42.1 million people, or 18.1% of all adults in the U.S. smoke cigarettes.

This year marked the 50th anniversary of the historic 1964 Surgeon General’s report that concluded that smoking caused lung cancer, and should be avoided. Before then, smoking messaging was depressingly inaccurate. Despite concerns — initially from a small minority of medical experts — the tobacco industry boomed in the U.S., and even doctors considered the effects of cigarettes to be benign.

Here are some examples of tobacco-related beliefs that appeared through the years in TIME Magazine:

1923: In an article about a recent compilation of smoking-related data, TIME was mostly concerned with whether smoking made people more or less brainy: “The outstanding fact of this survey is that every man in the literary group smokes, and the majority of the literary women. Moreover, most of them consider its effects beneficial, and claim that their literary and imaginative powers are stimulated by it.” And later: “From the laboratory data, the author concludes that it is impossible to say that tobacco smoking will retard the intellectual processes of any one person, but in a large group it may be predicted that the majority will be slightly retarded.”

1928: Some experts tried early on to warn about the effect of nicotine, but were met with resistance. In an article about a researcher presenting data on nicotine and the brain, TIME writes: “Many U. S. doctors have contended and often hoped to prove that smoking does no harm. In Newark, N. J., five children of the Fillimon family have been smoking full-sized cigars since the age of two. The oldest, Frank, 11, now averages five cigars a day. All of these children appear healthy, go to school regularly, get good grades.”

1935: Questions began to be raised about the effects on infants, though uptake was limited: “Physiologists agree that smoking does no more harm to a woman than to a man, if harm there be. According to many investigators, the only circumstances under which a woman should not smoke are while she has anesthetic gas in her lungs (she might explode), and while she produces milk for her baby. Milk drains from the blood of a smoking mother those smoke ingredients which please her, but may not agree with her nursling.”

1938 Even if there might be adverse health events for some smokers, not all physicians agreed it was a universal risk: “In step with a recent upsurge of articles on smoking, in the current issue of Scribner’s, Mr. Furnas offers several anti-smoking aids for what they are worth. Samples: 1) wash out the mouth with a weak solution of silver nitrate which ‘makes a smoke taste as if it had been cured in sour milk'; 2) chew candied ginger, gentian, or camomile; 3) to occupy the hands smoke a prop cigaret. For many a smoker, however, this facetious advice may be unnecessary, since many a doctor has come to the conclusion that, no matter what else it may do to you, smoking does not injure the heart of a healthy person.”

1949: By the late 1940s, smoking had become a contentious debate in the medical community: “Smoking? Possibly a minor cause of cancer of the mouth, said Dr. MacDonald. But smoking, argued New Orleans’ Dr. Alton Ochsner, can be blamed for the increase of cancer of the lung. Surgeon Ochsner, a nonsmoker, was positive. Dr. Charles S. Cameron, A.C.S. medical and scientific director, who does smoke, was not so sure. For every expert who blames tobacco for the increase of cancer of the lung, he said, there is another who says tobacco is not the cause.”

1962 More evidence was linking tobacco to cancer, and some groups were trying to get pregnant women to quit out of potential risks to the child, but still: “Some doctors, though, see no direct connection between smoking and prematurity; they argue that the problem is a matter of temperament, that high-strung women who smoke would have a high proportion of “preemies” anyway.”

1964 In a historic move, the 1964 Surgeon General’s report officially stated that cigarette smoking causes cancer, giving authority to anti-smoking campaigns. TIME wrote:

The conclusion was just about what everybody had expected. “On the basis of prolonged study and evaluation,” the 150,000-word report declared, “the committee makes the following judgment: Cigarette smoking is a health hazard of sufficient importance in the U.S. to warrant appropriate remedial action.” More significant than the words was their source: it was the unanimous report of an impartial committee of top experts in several health fields, backed by the full authority of the U.S. Government.

Read TIME’s full 1964 coverage of the Surgeon General’s report, here in the TIME Vault: The Government Report

TIME Diet/Nutrition

13 Healthy Frozen Dinners

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Getty Images

We tested dozens to find the ones you'll actually want to eat again

The freezer aisle has come a long way in the 60 years since the first TV dinners entered the scene. Instead of Salisbury steak and sad, rubbery peas, today’s microwavable meals are likely to include kale and organic chicken. “The quality and variety are so much better than they were just a few years ago,” says Libby Mills, RDN, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “More people are demanding food that is both healthy and environmentally sound, and companies are responding.” In fact, organic and “natural” ready-to-eat meals are projected to become a $2.2 billion business in the U.S. by 2017. But what good is nutritional cred if the offerings taste like airplane food? No worries: We tested dozens to pinpoint the ones you’ll actually want to eat again and again.

HEALTH.COM: 12 Foods That Control Your Appetite

Evol Fire Grilled Steak

Power ingredients: Steak, black beans, cilantro-lime rice, roasted red and green bell peppers and Cheddar cheese with a cilantro-lime pesto
Tester’s take: “Yum! It was just like a takeout burrito bowl but has only 400 calories.”
Key nutritionals: 400 Calories, 3.5g Saturated Fat, 20g Protein, 9g Fiber, 520mg Sodium
($99/12 pack; amazon.com)

Luvo Chicken Chile Verde

Power ingredients: Chicken, polenta and black beans in a punched-up green chile sauce
Tester’s take: “The chicken somehow tasted freshly cooked, and the black beans had a nice al dente quality. The only downside was that it could use something green. Next time, I’ll steam some spinach to serve on the side.”
Key nutritionals: 320 Calories, 4.5g Saturated Fat, 27g Protein, 6g Fiber, 470mg Sodium
($58/10 pack; amazon.com)

HEALTH.COM: Best and Worst Foods to Avoid Bloating

Kashi Mayan Harvest Bake

Power ingredients: Plantains, black beans, sweet potato, kale, Kashi 7 Whole Grains & Sesame Pilaf, amaranth and polenta in a spicy ancho sauce
Tester’s take: “The sweet plantains in the sauce had a nice oomph to them. And the pilaf added a satisfying texture to the meal.”
Key nutritionals: 340 Calories, 2g Saturated Fat, 9g Protein, 8g Fiber, 380mg Sodium
(For stores visit kashi.com)

Saffron Road Chicken Biryani

Power ingredients: Chicken, basmati rice and caramelized onions in Biryani spices
Tester’s take: “It tasted so fresh that I couldn’t believe it came out of a box.”
Key nutritionals: 400 Calories, 2g Saturated Fat, 25g Protein, 3g Fiber, 590mg Sodium
($51/8-pack; amazon.com)

Saffron Road Chana Saag

Power ingredients: Chickpeas and spinach seasoned with ginger and traditional Indian herbs and spices over cumin rice
Tester’s take: “This meal smelled, looked and tasted as if it had come straight out of the kitchen of an Indian restaurant. And it was filling to boot.”
Key nutritionals: 420 Calories, 1.5g Saturated Fat, 12g Protein, 8g Fiber, 590mg Sodium
($45/8-pack; amazon.com)

HEALTH.COM: 16 Calorie-Free Flavor Boosters

Lean Cuisine Spa Collection Sesame Stir Fry with Chicken

Power ingredients: Chicken, edamame, broccoli and whole-wheat vermicelli in a sesame sauce
Tester’s take: “Overall, it was fresh and satisfying.”
Key nutritionals: 280 Calories, 1g Saturated Fat, 19g Protein, 5mg Fiber, 480mg Sodium
(Available in select Walmart stores)

Cedar Lane Eggplant Parmesan

Power ingredients: Eggplant filled with roasted vegetables and cheese in a sun-dried-tomato sauce
Tester’s take: “Surprisingly delicious! The eggplant was satisfying, and the sauce was creamy but not at all heavy.”
Key nutritionals: 280 Calories, 5g Saturated Fat, 13g Protein, 5g Fiber, 590mg Sodium
($5; amazon.com)

Luvo Spinach Ricotta Ravioli

Power ingredients: Ravioli stuffed with spinach and ricotta in a turkey Bolognese sauce
Tester’s take: “This one is a win-win: filling and low-calorie. The turkey Bolognese was nicely seasoned and hearty. The ravioli weren’t bad either! I’d say this meal was actually restaurant-good.”
Key nutritionals: 310 Calories, 2g Saturated Fat, 18 Protein, 4g Fiber, 470mg Sodium
(For stores visit luvoinc.com)

Blake’s Meatloaf Dinner Casserole

Power ingredents: Meatloaf with garlic mashed potatoes, peas and gravy
Tester’s take: “The flavors simmered together so nicely. It was hearty but not a ton of food, so I added a side salad.”
Key nutritionals: 310 Calories, 9g Saturated Fat, 11g Protein, 3g Fiber, 350mg Sodium
(Available in select Target stores)

Artisan Bistro Grass-Red Beef in Mushroom Sauce

Power ingredients: Beef and French lentils with a mushroom sauce, edamame, sugar snap peas, sweet potatoes and onions
Tester’s take: “A high-quality meat-and-potatoes dish, it’s perfect for when you walk through the door feeling famished.”
Key nutritionals: 350 Calories, 3.5g Saturated Fat, 23g Protein, 4g Fiber, 580mg Sodium
(Available in select Whole Foods stores)

Luvo Orange Mango Chicken

Power ingredients: Roasted white-meat chicken and mango chunks in a sweet orange sauce with rice, kale and broccoli
Tester’s take: “You might want to season the veggies, but the chicken and mango smothered in a tasty sauce made this meal.”
Key nutritionals: 420 Calories, 1g Saturated Fat, 21g Protein, 4g Fiber, 380mg Sodium
($58/8-pack; amazon.com)

HEALTH.COM: 12 ‘Unhealthy’ Foods Nutritionists Eat

Artisan Bistro Wild Salmon with Pesto

Power ingredients: Wild Alaskan salmon in a basil pesto with chickpea pilaf, zucchini and green beans
Tester’s take: “Reheating frozen seafood in the microwave is tricky, but this worked. It helped that the fish was drizzled with a yummy pesto sauce!”
Key nutritionals: 310 Calories, 2.5g Saturated Fat, 16g Protein, 3g Fiber, 370mg Sodium
(Available in select Whole Foods stores)

Kashi Steam Meal Chicken Chipotle BBQ

Power ingredients: Chicken, green beans, mango, bell peppers and onions in a whole-grain pilaf
Tester’s take: “These steam meals are brilliant. Everything cooked right in the bag and stayed super crisp in the process. On top of that, the sauce had a smoky, spicy flavor that hit all the right notes.”
Key nutritionals: 310 Calories, 1g Saturated Fat, 15g Protein, 6g Fiber, 620mg Sodium
(For stores visit kashi.com)

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

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