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Web Exclusive: Smartphone germs may help researchers study health issues

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(CNN) - Think about this, how many times a day do you think you touch your smartphone, hundreds maybe?  Researchers say what we leave behind on our smartphones amounts to a personal "bacteria blueprint" or a fingerprint that can tell us a lot about our health.

Researchers from the University of Oregon found that 82% of the most common bacteria, typically found on our hands, are also on our smartphones.   They say this means to some extent your phone is a reflection of you and the trillions of micro-organisms on your body.  This could have important implications for the way researchers study health issues.

Researchers say using your phone could become a "non invasive" way to look at how bacteria is passed and how long it stays in place and to monitor your health overall, giving you almost a snapshot of what bacteria you have around you.  Interestingly enough, the results in the study were stronger among women than men, though there is no clear reason why.

The sample size for this study was very small.  They only looked at 17 people and only at touchscreen phones, but the findings are certainly interesting. Still, more study is needed.

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