(CNN) - How many times a day do people touch their smartphones - hundreds maybe? A new study says all those germs that we're inevitably leaving behind on our screens may be a useful tool for scientists.
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 percent 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 a person and the trillions of micro-organisms on a person’s body.
This could have important implications for the way researchers study health issues.
Researchers say using a person’s cell phone could become a non-invasive way to look at how bacteria is passed and how long it stays in place - and to monitor health overall, giving almost a snapshot of what bacteria exists around a person.
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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