Eric Alm and Larry Smarr did extensive microbiome tracking
[cancer analytics is the FIELD to look at]
Alm is among a small but growing cadre of scientists who are using themselves as research subjects. They are taking advantage of faster and cheaper technologies, ranging from custom apps on smartphones to gene sequencing, in order to monitor aspects of their behavior and biology in unprecedented detail.
The public has embraced such devices as well, giving rise to a “quantified self” movement in which people aiming to live healthier lives track their daily activity and convert it into a rich data stream: fitness, food intake, sleep cycles. But self-experimenters like Alm so fully transform themselves into guinea pigs that their research has the potential to answer questions beyond the self. His work has led to an intriguing finding about yogurt’s effects on health.
“I realized this would actually be amazing,” said Lawrence David, a junior fellow at Harvard University and former graduate student of Alm’s who studied the communities of bacteria that dwell in his own gut, looking for clues about how they might be affected by alterations in diet, exercise, even mood. “We had this capability to take all these measurements that even five years ago were inconceivable.”