How Stanford’s Michael Snyder uses a drop of blood to measure health

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 repeated blood samples every day for a week — 14 a day, 98 times in all. He used a new method he and his team had developed, using a drop from a finger prick instead of vial after vial from the crook of his arm.

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

In addition to learning more about his own biology, Snyder thinks it offers a new way to track health measures and could eventually replace drawing blood at the local doctor. Such microsampling, he said, is convenient, can be done more frequently than an annual or semi-annual blood draw, and does not require a visit to a clinic with sick people.

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