Have you been keeping up with the news this week? Today's link roundup is a good one! Tell us: What's caught your eye? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @Shape_Magazine!
1. The U.S. government discovers forgotten vials of smallpox. Oh hey, nothing to see here, folks. Just some long-forgotten vials of smallpox—that aren't supposed to exist—found by the National Institutes of Health in "an unused portion" of an FDA lab in the middle of Maryland. Totally routine—except not. In fact, the existence of the vials, which date back to the 1950s, means that, according to ABC News, technically, the U.S. has violated a 1979 international agreement that limits the viruses' presence to two controlled labs in the world: one in Russia and CDC headquarters in Atlanta. However, there's some good news: Officials report that the vials don't appear to have been tampered with, so they don't pose a public health threat.
2. Interrupted sleep may be as bad as no sleep. A Tel Aviv University study suggests that fragmented sleep is just as bad—if not worse—for your health than a total lack of sleep, impairing your cognitive function and attention span, and negatively affecting your mood. While previous research has shown that a lack of sleep is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, this is the first study of its kind to show that tossing and turning all night is the same as getting four hours or less of sleep consistently.
3. "Dark" traits can help you climb the corporate ladder. There's a reason your totally charming, outgoing coworker seems to have risen from intern to manager in the blink of an eye, outpacing you and the rest of all your colleagues: She might posess what experts call the "dark triad" of characteristics. In other words, she's probably midly manipulative, narcissistic, and lacks empathy for others. While that might sound like the makings of a sociopath, a the Wall Street Journal reports that research shows in milder levels, these specific traits might help you get ahead early in your career, because people who posess them tend to be persuasive and outgoing, make good first impressions, and are able to flatter people in just the right ways. There's a catch, though: Those same people tend to eventually stall in their careers as their behavior catches up to them at a certain level.
4. One question might be the key to better reproductive care. "Would you like to become pregnant in the next year?" That's the question a new Oregon-based initiative called One Key Question is pressing doctors statewide to ask each of their female patients. The idea is that changing the conversation around reproductive care might help you and your doctor better pinpoint your specific wants—and then get the resources you need, whether that's birth control to prevent pregnancy or counseling and pre-natal services for a healthy pregnancy.
5. An apple a day may provide a surprising perk. New research published in Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics suggests your daily intake of the shiny red fruit might do more than keep the doctor away—it might lead to better sex too. Researchers split 731 sexually active Italian women into two groups—one who ate one to two apples daily and one who ate none—and asked them to fill out the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI), a survey that includes questions on sexual arousal, lubrication, satisfaction, pain, and more. Overall they found that the apple-eating group was more sexually satisfied than the second group. All that said, the researchers are reminding readers to take this info with a huge grain of salt: The sample size was very small, making it very hard to generalize the results too broadly.