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Where did this person get two rolls of toilet paper? Photo: George Mdivanian/EyeEm/Getty Images

A new study made the case for personalized diagnostic toilets capable of tracking health data from feces and urine.

Why it matters: Don't laugh — what comes out of your body can be very revealing about the state of your health. Smart toilets would enable us to track that health data at home, which suddenly seems more useful.

In a paper published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, researchers at Stanford University sketched out how such a diagnostic toilet would work and what it would be able to do. Features would include:

  • A fingerprint-sending handle so the toilet would personalize to the user.
  • Four cameras including an "anus camera."
  • A urinalysis strip that would monitor urine for biomarkers including protein and nitrates, which are linked to kidney health.

How it works: The toilet would send data and images to a secure, cloud-based portal.

  • Lest you think this is a joke, doctors are very excited about the potential health benefits of such smart toilets. "If we could collect data from the general population in a controlled clinical trial, it’s possible that you could use the existing platform to look for changes in urine or stool consistency associated with COVID-19," microbiologist Jack Gilbert told STAT.
  • Though such a toilet is only theoretical at this point, it's part of a trend toward more wearable and at-home diagnostics that is likely to be accelerated by the pandemic.

The catch: First you need to find toilet paper.

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
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New research is bolstering the case for delaying second doses of coronavirus vaccines.

Why it matters: Most vulnerable Americans remain unvaccinated heading into March, when experts predict the more infectious virus variant first found in the U.K. could become dominant in the U.S.

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Passenger rail could be the big winner if Congress moves ahead with President Biden's ambitious infrastructure plan.

Why it matters: There's long been bipartisan support for rebuilding America's crumbling infrastructure, but under Biden, the focus has shifted to sustainable projects that fulfill both his climate and equity goals, such as rail transit.

Scoop: Schumer wants to freeze stimulus changes

Sen. Chuck Schumer. Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is privately saying he can pass President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus package but wants to avoid any last-minute changes jeopardizing its trajectory, three sources familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Why it matters: While the president hoped to enlist Republican support for the measure, Schumer has worked to ensure he has a solid 50 votes to muscle it through if necessary. A parliamentary ruling Thursday improved his chances.