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How Stanford's Michael Snyder is using a drop of blood to monitor health

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You could say that Michael Snyder is obsessed with learning about the inner workings of his own body. The Stanford University geneticist once tracked himself as he developed diabetes.

Now, in a new paper, he took repeat blood samples every day for a week – 14 a day, 98 times in total. He used a new method he and his team developed, using a drop collected from a finger prick, rather than vial after vial taken from the crook of his arm.

The study, published Thursday morning, showed that Snyder and his colleagues were able to get nearly the same results as a typical blood draw from a sample 1,000 times smaller.

In addition to learning more about your own biology, Snyder thinks this offers a new way to track health measures, and could eventually replace blood draws at your local doctor’s office. Such microsampling, he said, is convenient, can be done more often than an annual or semi-annual blood draw, and does not require visiting a clinic with sick people.

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