TIME ebola

U.N.: Ebola Outbreak Will Take Several More Months to Contain

Liberia Ebola Missed Goals
Health workers wearing Ebola protective gear spray the shrouded body of a suspected Ebola victim with disinfectant at an Ebola treatment center at Tubmanburg, on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia, on Nov. 28, 2014 Abbas Dulleh—AP

The U.N. goal of containing 100% of Ebola cases by Jan. 1 will not be met

The U.N.’s special envoy on Ebola said Thursday that it would be several months before the outbreak in West Africa is under control.

Dr. David Nabarro said international governments as well as local communities had taken a “massive shift” in responding to the crisis over the past four month, the Associated Press reports.

However, he noted that more needed to be done to contain the spread of the disease in western Sierra Leone and northern Mali.

“It’s going to take, I’m afraid, several more months before we can truly declare that the outbreak is coming under control,” Nabarro said.

The World Health Organization aimed to have 100% of cases isolated by Jan. 1, but acknowledges that previous targets have not been met.


TIME europe

The E.U. Plans to Spike Key Clean-Air and Recycling Laws

Prime Minister David Cameron Tries To Take A Harder Line with Europe
E.U. flags are pictured outside the European Commission building in Brussels on Oct. 24, 2014 Carl Court—Getty Images

The proposed laws are aimed at preventing tens of thousands of premature deaths and set a 70% recycling target by 2030

The E.U. is planning to scrap environmental laws aimed at averting tens of thousands of possible deaths, according to classified documents published on Thursday.

The leaked files propose the withdrawal of a plan for a clean-air law as well as a directive setting a target of 70% waste recycling by 2030, the Guardian reported.

The plan is reportedly being withdrawn because the commission in charge of it sees “no foreseeable agreement” with states that have a poor track record on recycling, and would not be able to meet the target without additional financial help.

Read more at the Guardian

TIME infectious diseases

Avian Flu Outbreak in British Columbia Spreads to Seven Farms

The virus has affected 155,000 birds in the past week

A sudden spike in avian influenza cases in British Columbia in the past week has now spread to seven farms and affected thousands of birds, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Some 155,000 birds have either died or will be euthanized, the Associated Press reports.

The outbreak originated in the Fraser Valley near Vancouver last week, where turkeys and chickens from two farms tested positive for the H5N2 strain of the virus.

Although the bug does not pose a major threat to humans as long as the meat from these birds is cooked properly, its sudden resurgence a huge blow to the region’s poultry industry.


TIME Infectious Disease

Superbugs Could Kill 10 Million By 2050, Report Warns

Could be deadlier than cancer

Rising rates of drug-resistant infections could lead to the death of some 10 million people and cost some $100 trillion in 2050.

That’s the startling conclusion of a review commissioned by British Prime Minister David Cameron which has warned that if antimicrobial resistance is not curbed, it could undermine modern medicine and cut up to 3.5% from the global economy.

The threat could also disproportionately affect the developing world, according to the report authored by economist Jim O’Neill, leading to more than 4 million deaths in Africa and 4.7 million deaths in Asia. By comparison, cancer killed 8.2 million people worldwide in 2014.

The report, which will be followed up by a full package of public health recommendations by 2016, called for “coherent international action that spans drug regulation and antimicrobial drugs use across humans, animals and the environment.”

Specifically, the report said that antibacterial research, the use of alternatives like vaccines and international measures to reduce the spread of bacteria could help reduce the threat from drug-resistant infections.

“It would be unforgiveable if the great progress made in combatting infectious diseases could be threatened by the lack of new drugs that are within reach, or for lack of common sense investment in infrastructure that keeps us safe from avoidable infections,” says the report.

Read the entire report here.

TIME Infectious Disease

Whooping Cough Outbreak Strikes Undervaccinated Michigan County

Grand Traverse County has the state’s highest rates of parents choosing not have their children vaccinated

A major outbreak of whooping cough has struck a Michigan area where many people opted out of vaccinations against the disease.

At a single school in Grand Traverse County, which has the state’s highest rates of parents choosing not have their children vaccinated, there have been 151 confirmed and probable cases of whooping cough, reports local news outlet MLive.com.

“Nobody likes to be the person who says, ‘I told you so,’ but what’s unfolding now is exactly the scenario feared by those worried about the region’s low immunization numbers,” Bradley Goodwin, the president of the Grand Traverse County Medical Society, said.

Cases of whooping cough have been reported at more than 14 school buildings in the area, which has also reported several cases of the highly contagious measles.

Read more at MLive.com

TIME person of the year

Watch U.S. Ebola Survivors Describe Fighting the Deadly Virus

"I saw his eyes and they had been red from crying, and I knew immediately"

Dr. Kent Brantly vividly remembers the day he was told he had Ebola. A missionary doctor with Samaritan’s Purse in Liberia, Brantly had been treating Ebola patients and was familiar with the deadliness of the disease.

And yet, he didn’t panic when a colleague broke the news.

“It was really a very surreal moment. It was a very solemn moment,” Brantly says. “I felt a very strange but overwhelming sense of peace.”

For Dallas nurse Nina Pham, who had cared for Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian in Dallas, learning that she tested positive for Ebola was devastating news.

“Because Mr. Duncan had died three days prior, flashbacks started coming to my head of how his disease progressed and eventually led to his death,” Pham says.

In the video above, Brantly and Pham, along with nurse Amber Vinson, Dr. Rick Sacra and medical aide Nancy Writebol — all of whom have survived Ebola — recount their experiences.

TIME named Ebola Fighters as the 2014 Person of the Year. Read the full story here.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

Should I Drink Diet Soda?

Why the fake fizzy stuff falls flat

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

diet soda
Illustration by Lon Tweeten for TIME

5/5 experts say no.

Man, diet soda just can’t catch a break with these experts. Maybe that’s because it’s the ultimate hypocrite of the beverage world.

People probably get hooked on diet soda in the hope that the “diet” part will pay off. (Why else would you suffer an aftertaste as metallic as the can it comes in?) But liquid weight loss this is not. A 2014 study led by Sara Bleich, PhD, associate professor in health policy and management at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, suggests it might be just the opposite. Her research found that overweight and obese adults who drink diet beverages actually consume more calories from food than their sugar-soda-drinking peers.

“Oftentimes my patients come to me ecstatic because they’ve kicked their regular soda habit to the curb,” says Kristin Kirkpatrick, registered dietitian and manager of wellness nutrition services at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute. “Unfortunately, it’s often replaced with a new habit of drinking diet soda.”

Indeed, for all of its skinny-making promises, diet soda might be making you fat.

Artificial sweeteners—the super-sweet, low- or no-calorie lifeblood of diet soda—trigger greater activation of reward centers in the brain compared with regular old sugar. That activation changes the way you seem to experience the “reward” you get from sweet tastes, Bleich says. “Another way of thinking about this is that for diet beverage drinkers, the brain’s sweet sensors may no longer provide a reliable gauge of energy consumption,” Bleich says. A change in those brain signals might get in the way of appetite control.

This isn’t the only one of diet soda’s potentially weighty problems. A 2009 study by nutritional epidemiologist Jennifer Nettleton, PhD, and her team found associations between diet soda consumption and type 2 diabetes. Though an observational study of this kind can’t establish causal links, drinking at least one diet soda a day was associated with a 67% greater risk for type-2 diabetes compared to people who never or rarely drank it.

Susan Swithers, PhD, professor of behavioral neuroscience at Purdue University, wrote a 2013 paper looking at the evidence for and against diet soda. “Right now, the data indicate that over the long term, people who drink even one diet soda a day are at higher risk for health outcomes that they are probably drinking diet sodas to try to avoid, like type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, hypertension and stroke,” she says.

Not only does diet soda appear to fuel to problems it’s supposed to fight, but studies also link it to less obvious health issues. Vasan Ramachandran, MD, principal investigator of the Framingham Heart Study, points to a recent study linking soda, both sugary and diet, to a higher risk of hip fractures in women. It’s another observational study, he says, but that’s largely the way diet soda research goes. Some experts think that other factors might be contributing to the link between diet soda and poor health outcomes—not just the drink itself. But the associations are strong, the evidence is consistent and the biological mechanisms are plausible, he concludes.

A recent study in Nature shows that zero-calorie artificial sweeteners might mess with gut bacteria in a way that predisposes mice to insulin resistance and glucose intolerance—“the underlying precursors of metabolic abnormalities and diabetes,” Ramachandran says.

So next time you’re craving an aluminum can of carbonated non-food constituents like artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners, remember Nettleton’s voice in your head. If you’re thirsty, she says, drink water. If you’re tired, have a cup of coffee. And if you want a weight-loss aid to squash those hunger pangs, “Take a walk around the block.”

Still feel hungry? “Then eat,” she says. “You are hungry.”

Read next: Should I Eat Greek Yogurt?

TIME Addiction

Hawaii Teens Love Electronic Cigarettes

Popularity of a new tobacco product raises health concerns

It looks like vaping has a bright future in Hawaii.

Experimentation with electronic cigarettes among Hawaii’s high school and middle school students more than tripled from 2011-2013, according to a new state survey. Almost 8% of middle school students and 18% of high school students had tried electronic cigarettes in 2013 (up from 2% and 5%, respectively, in 2011), according to the survey of public school students by the Hawaii State Department of Health. It’s illegal in Hawaii to sell electronic cigarettes to children under the age of 18.

The latest federal data in 2012 showed that 10% teens have tried electronic cigarettes nationwide. New federal numbers on national teen use of electronic cigarettes will come out next week.

MORE: The future of smoking

Smoking of traditional cigarettes among high school students in Hawaii dropped from 2011-2013 and remained steady for Hawaii’s middle schoolers, according to the survey.

The health effects of electronic cigarettes are not well understood. Many in the health community fear that the rise in youth exposure to electronic cigarettes could re-glamorize smoking and become a gateway to traditional cigarettes. Electronic cigarette manufacturers have come under fire from Congress for marketing practices and flavors that seem geared at teens. The federal government has yet to regulate electronic cigarettes.

MORE: Electronic cigarette executives get schooled in Senate hearing




TIME Exercise/Fitness

5 Moves to Work Your Abs From All Angles

Getty Images

Try these five moves to shrink and sculpt your waistline

A perfectly toned tummy is reason enough to add more core moves to your workout routine. Additionally, a strong mid-section is the essential foundation you need in order to stabilize the spine and help prevent future injury. Crunches alone won’t get the job done. You need moves that will flex as well as stabilize the core. The stronger your core is, the stronger you’ll be in everything else you do.

Try these five moves to shrink and sculpt your waistline.

Walk the plank

The plank is the best example of an isometric exercise, where your muscles are contracting but you’re not moving the torso at all. In this position, you are working all of the muscles surrounding the core, including your rectus and transverse abdominals, internal and external obliques, and lower back. But we’re adding a challenge. Start with a traditional plank, with your legs glued together and your wrists right underneath your shoulders. By “walking” the plank, you simply come down to your forearms and then back up to your hands. Do 30 seconds on one side and then switch the direction of which arm comes down first for another 30.

Modification for beginners: Same movement but come down to a modified plank position on your knees.

HEALTH.COM: 24 Fat-Burning Ab Exercises (No Crunches!)

Plank jacks

Another way to switch up your regular plank is with a plank jack, where you move your feet like a regular jumping jack. This one targets the lower half of the torso, whereas the first exercise might work the upper half more. In a traditional plank position on the hands and feet, jump your feet away from each other and then jump them back to starting position. Try to keep your upper body from moving and aim for 20 reps.

Modification for beginners: Start in a plank. Move one leg at a time away from the center of your body, without moving the upper body. Do 20 on each side.

HEALTH.COM: 11 Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Belly Fat

Slippery plank

A third modified plank exercise is the slippery plank. Start in a push-up position with a towel (or other item which will allow you to slide your feet freely) placed under the ball of each foot, legs together. Bring your right knee in towards the right elbow, squeezing your abs. Then, re-straighten your right leg and perform the same movement with your left leg. Finally, draw both knees into your chest at the same time and then slide your legs back out to full plank. That’s one rep. Do 3 sets of 15 reps.

Modification for beginners: Perform the same movements from a modified plank position, resting your weight on your forearms instead of your hands.

HEALTH.COM: Try This Flat-Belly Yoga Pose

Teaser ‘toe touches’

Start lying face up, legs extended out and arms overhead. At the same time, lift both arms and legs up together and reach for your toes, balancing on your tailbone for a moment before returning your arms and legs down to their original position. (Use a mat if you have hard floors.) Do 3 sets of 15 reps.

Modification for beginners: Start with the legs at a 45-degree angle, extending the arms up overhead. Keep the legs where they are as you bring the upper body up to reach for the toes and then return the upper body down, maintaining the 45-degree angle with the legs.

HEALTH.COM: 20 Filling Foods That Help You Lose Weight


Lie flat on your back on a mat with your arms held firmly at your sides. Squeeze your legs together tightly and bring them straight up so your toes point toward the ceiling. Inhale as you lift your legs overhead until you’re balancing in the middle of your shoulder blades. Exhale with control as you roll back down your spine, leaning your body slightly to the right. When your right glute touches the mat, circle your legs around to the left until you’ve made a full circle. Then scoop your abs in as you lift your legs and hips back up off the floor and reverse the movement, this time circling your legs to the right. Try and complete 5 each direction.

Modification for beginners: Make the circles, but without lifting your back off the mat. Once you feel strong enough, then you can try the advanced version.

Jennifer Cohen is a leading fitness authority, TV personality, entrepreneur and best-selling author of the new book, Strong is the New Skinny. With her signature, straight-talking approach to wellness, Jennifer was the featured trainer on The CW’s Shedding for the Wedding, mentoring the contestants’ to lose hundreds of pounds before their big day, and she appears regularly on NBC’s Today Show, Extra, The Doctors and Good Morning America. Connect with Jennifer on Facebook, Twitter, G+ and on Pinterest.

This article originally appeared on Health.com

TIME person of the year

In The Latest Issue

TIME Person of the Year 2014 Magazine Cover: The Ebola Fighters 141222
Photograph by Jackie Nickerson for TIME

Person of the Year: The Ebola Fighters

The Choice

Person of the Year Runner-Up: Ferguson Protestors

Person of the Year Runner-Up: Vladimir Putin

Person of the Year Runner-Up: Massoud Barzani

Person of the Year Runner-Up: Jack Ma

2014 in Connections
From Vladimir Putin to Katy Perry, how the most influential people connected this year

The Firsts and Lasts of 2014
From Janet Yellen to Oscar de la Renta, documenting the year in milestones

The 15 Most Influential Fictional Characters of 2014
Featuring Elsa, Kim Kardashian, King Joffrey and more

The Top 15 Minutes of Fame of 2014
The heroes, villains and phenomena that rose, briefly, to the top

The Coolest Person of the Year
For the first time in this column’s five-year history, we actually consult an expert

The inanimate objects that drove the news

Highs and Lows
Similar themes, opposite fates

Into The Hot Zone


News stories amplified by social media

The Year in Covers
Readers respond to TIME’s biggest stories


Memorable images of influential figures





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