It's Wednesday! We've made it halfway through another week, and for many of us, we've only got a couple days to go before we get to head out of town to see family, blow off some steam, and enjoy the holidays. Still: Gotta make it through the next couple of days first.
As always, we've rounded up the most interesting health-related stories we could find this week. If nothing else, this will give you something current to talk about at all the parties you hit the next few nights. Scroll down to read, and then tell us: What did we miss? Tweet us @Shape_Magazine or let us know in the comments below!
1. There really is no difference between hand soap and antibacterial soap. At least not according to the FDA, who just released a new proposal that would require manufacturers of antibacterial soaps to show that they are safe to use every day, as well as more effective than regular hand soap. In a press release, the FDA said that there is currently no evidence that proves antibacterial soaps are actually more effective at preventing illness than regular soap. In fact, some research suggests that too much exposure to antibacterial soap could actually be harmful and might cause hormonal imbalances or bacterial resistance.
2. Technology can help you moderate your drinking. If you're worried about how many you toss back at the bar, a new evidence-based web app called Moderate Drinking may help you analyze your alcohol habits. Although the data is self-reported (you can use it to enter in the amount of drinks you've had, how long you've been drinking, your weight, and more), the idea behind it is that people are more likely to be honest about their drinking if they are in private or know they won't be penalized for their habits. The app is aimed at helping people identify triggers that lead them to drink and set limits so they know when to cut back.
3. And that moderate alcohol may boost your immunity. Good news, guys: You don't have to feel guilty about the mulled wine, eggnog, champagne, and other holiday cocktails you've been having. A new study suggests that moderate consumption of alcohol may actually bolster your immune system's ability to fight infections. In turn, this could boost your body's immune response to vaccines, which may come in handy this winter to fend off colds and the flu.
4. It may be better to be right than happy. A New Zealand case study to assess whether marriage improves if the husband agrees to all his wife's requests or demands had to be abandoned after the husband in the couple recruited for the pilot study reported that his happiness had decreased dramatically after only 12 days of the experiment. Interestingly enough, the wife in the experiment reported that her happiness increased slightly, while another female being used as a control abandoned the project after becoming "hostile" that her happiness was being incessantly recorded, reports the Telegraph. We don't recommend trying this one with your man—sometimes it's just better to agree to disagree.
5. Some pregnant women claim to be virgins. Just in time for Christmas, in a recently published national survey, 45 women claimed to have had "virgin births." That's right, they said they never had sex but had been pregnant. Researchers attribute their confusion to inconsistencies, mistakes, shifting definitions of what it means to be a virgin, and flat-out lies. We agree that some sex is better off forgotten, but really.