Your smartphone carries your personal bacteria - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Your smartphone carries your personal bacteria

© iStockphoto.com / Maartje Van Casper © iStockphoto.com / Maartje Van Casper
  • HealthMore>>

  • The 'Hobby Lobby ruling' and what it means for U.S. health care

    The 'Hobby Lobby ruling' and what it means for U.S. health care

    The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on contraception coverage -- as mandated under the Affordable Care Act -- could lead to a legal quagmire that might allow companies to deny insurance coverage for any medical practice that violates their religious principles.
    The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on contraception coverage -- as mandated under the Affordable Care Act -- could lead to a legal quagmire that might allow companies to deny insurance coverage for any medical practice that violates their religious principles.
  • Diet changes can alter gut bacteria

    Diet changes can alter gut bacteria

    Dietary changes can dramatically alter the balance of bacteria in the gut on a daily basis, according to a new study.
    Dietary changes can dramatically alter the balance of bacteria in the gut on a daily basis, according to a new study.
  • Lift U.S. ban on blood donations by gay men

    Lift U.S. ban on blood donations by gay men

    The United States should repeal a 30-year policy that bans blood donations from gay and bisexual men, according to a team of medical and legal experts writing this week in the Journal of the American Medical...
    The United States should repeal a 30-year policy that bans blood donations from gay and bisexual men, according to a team of medical and legal experts writing this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

TUESDAY, June 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Your smartphone is personalized in a surprising way: It carries the same types of bacteria you have on your body, which suggests the devices could be used as bacterial and health sensors, a new study says.

Trillions of microorganisms, including bacteria, live on and in your body, some of them harmful, but many of them beneficial.

Researchers assessed the microbiological connection between 17 people and their smartphones by analyzing bacteria on their hands and on the touch screens of their phones.

Eighty-two percent of the most common bacteria on the participants' fingers were also found on their smartphones. The link was stronger for women than for men, according to the study published online June 24 in the journal PeerJ.

"The sample size was small, but the findings, while intuitive, were revealing," lead author James Meadow, a postdoctoral researcher in the Biology and the Built Environment Center at the University of Oregon, said in a journal news release.

"This project was a proof-of-concept to see if our favorite and most closely held possessions microbially resemble us. We are ultimately interested in the possibility of using personal effects as a noninvasive way to monitor our health and our contact with the surrounding environment," he said.

For example, technology could be developed to screen the smartphones of health care workers and hospital visitors, rather than the people themselves, for possible exposure to harmful bacteria and viruses they may carry into or out of a health facility, the researchers said.

Microbiological analysis of smartphones might also reveal whether their users have been exposed to "biological threats or unusual sources of environmental microbes that don't necessarily end up integrated into our human microbiome," the researchers wrote.

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more about your microbes and you.

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.