What a Drop Can Do: Expanding Options for the Analysis of Blood-Based Biomarkers in Population-level Health Research
Thomas W McDade, Northwestern University
Sharon R Williams, University of Chicago
James J Snodgrass, University of Oregon
Methodological constraints associated with the collection and analysis of biological samples in community-based settings have been a significant impediment to integrative, multi-level biodemographic research. We pursue the following objectives in an effort to advance the development and implementation of biomarker methods: (1) Describe the advantages and disadvantages of dried blood spots as a minimally-invasive method for biomarker collection and analysis; (2) Evaluate the range of analytes with validated blood spot assay protocols; and (3) Discuss additional and emerging options for the analysis of capillary blood collected from a simple finger stick. The primary advantages of blood spots include the relative ease and low cost of sample collection, and a disadvantage is the requirement for assay validation prior to analysis. Protocols have been developed for over 100 analytes, providing a wide range of viable biomarker options that are increasingly being incorporated into population-based health research.