Your smartphone carries your personal bacteria - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Your smartphone carries your personal bacteria

© iStockphoto.com / Maartje Van Casper © iStockphoto.com / Maartje Van Casper

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.
  • More From wfmj.comMore>>

  • As US economy accelerates, Fed remains cautious

    As US economy accelerates, Fed remains cautious

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:39 AM EDT2014-07-31 11:39:42 GMT
    After a dismal winter, the U.S. economy sprang back to life in the April-June quarter, growing at a fast 4 percent annual rate on the strength of higher consumer and business spending.More >>
    After a grim start to 2014, the U.S. economy has rebounded with vigor and should show renewed strength into next year.More >>
  • Deadly Israeli strikes hit UN school, market area

    Deadly Israeli strikes hit UN school, market area

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 8:26 PM EDT2014-07-31 00:26:47 GMT
    A Palestinian health official says 13 people were killed after tank shells hit a U.N. school in Gaza where hundreds of Palestinians had taken refuge from Israeli attacks.More >>
    Israeli artillery shells tore through the walls of a U.N. school crowded with sleeping war refugees and back-to-back explosions rocked a market filled with shoppers Wednesday as Israel's stepped up campaign against...More >>
  • Suing Obama: GOP-led House gives the go-ahead

    Suing Obama: GOP-led House gives the go-ahead

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 7:49 PM EDT2014-07-30 23:49:43 GMT
    Republicans are ready to muscle legislation through the House authorizing an election-year lawsuit against President Barack Obama that accuses him of exceeding his powers in enforcing his health care law.More >>
    A sharply divided House approved a Republican plan Wednesday to launch a campaign-season lawsuit against President Barack Obama, accusing him of exceeding the bounds of his constitutional authority. Obama and other...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms