To kick off the holiday season, you can donate to a food drive with a sweet and sweaty incentive. Plus, we’ve got the latest recently published health studies, new information on home DNA tests, and more popular links from around the web.
Scroll down to take a look, and then tell us: What health stories did you find interesting this week? Tweet us @Shape_Magazine or let us know in the comments below!
1. Fitness Starts with Food campaign aims to raise a million pounds of health food in exchange for free workouts.
If you want to donate to a good cause this season, some local gyms will reward you for giving back. Starting November 29, hundreds of local fitness facilities are participating in a food drive called Fitness Starts with Food. The drive is aiming to raise one million pounds of not-so-typical canned goods. Their suggested donations include almond butter, dried fruit, apple sauce, or anything that’s organic and made of whole ingredients. The bonus? Those who donate get to try a class for free! See the list of participating gyms here.
2. A scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles is making cheese out of her own skin.
Yes, you read that correctly. Microbiologist Christina Agapakis, along with Michael Pollan and artists Sissel Tolaas and Olafur Eliasson, took swabs of bacteria from her body to the lab to grow in a petri dish. Once grown, she used it to spoil milk into cheese. To be fair, your regular Camembert is made by spoiling milk with the bacteria lactobacillus. The cheese is available to sniff—not eat—at the Trinity College in Dublin. Agapakis swears it smells like a normal cheese. Check out pictures for yourself!
3. Want an over-the-counter DNA test? Not so fast.
The FDA is trying to halt sales of OTC DNA tests produced by 23andMe, a company that claims its DNA testing can provide health information on everything from diabetes and breast cancer to arthritis and heart disease. The FDA’s warning to the company’s CEO highlights the risk associated with insubstantial results: that patients could take action on health problems that don’t actually exist or, what’s worse, ignore those that do.
4. Custom-fit condoms could be the future of safe sex.
As we reported back in March, Bill Gates challenged the world to come up with a condom that protects against STIs while maintaining (or even increasing) pleasure. The program's 812 applications could be the future of safe sex. One of the winners created a collagen condom that’s said to feel like skin because it’s made of the Acchiles tendons of cows! Others include a memory-fit that will conform to shape and Saran Wrap-like clingy condoms. Winners received $100,000 to continue developing their ideas.
5. Could there really be a love potion for men?
Well, a natural one at least. A new study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals that oxytocin—the infamous cuddle hormone—might be the secret to monogamy. Scientists tested men in serious relationships by showing them photos of both their significant other and equally attractive women. When spritzed men with oxytocin, the men showed a renewed attraction for their partners but not for the other women. What’s more, when looking at photos of their loved one, their brains were active in the areas associated with reward and motivation. Rene Hurlemann, a psychiatrist at the University of Bonn in Germany, told the Los Angeles Times that the idea that oxytocin makes men addicted to love isn’t far off the mark.