hypodermic needles

Porcupine quills could hold key to improved hypodermic needles for medicine

Saturday, December 29, 2012 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: porcupine quills, hypodermic needles, medicine

eTrust Pro Certified

Most Viewed Articles
Popular on Facebook
BACK INTO THE CLOSET: Why U.S. reporters are not allowed to write about rainbow events in nations where being gay is still condemned
Depopulation test run? 75% of children who received vaccines in Mexican town now dead or hospitalized
A family destroyed: Six-month-old dies after clinic injects baby with 13 vaccines at once without mother's informed consent
Biologist explains how marijuana causes tumor cells to commit suicide
U2's Bono partners with Monsanto to destroy African agriculture with GMOs
Companies begin planting microchips under employees' skin
BAM! Chipotle goes 100% non-GMO; flatly rejecting the biotech industry and its toxic food ingredients
ECONOMIC SLAVERY FOR ALL: While we were distracted with the Confederate flag flap, Congress quietly forfeited our entire economic future via fast-track trade authority
NJ cops bust teenagers shoveling snow without a permit
Russia throws down the gauntlet: energy supply to Europe cut off; petrodollar abandoned as currency war escalates
McDonald's in global profit free fall as people everywhere increasingly reject chemically-altered toxic fast food
March Against Monsanto explodes globally... World citizens stage massive protests across 38 countries, 428 cities... mainstream media pretends it never happened
Chemotherapy kills cancer patients faster than no treatment at all
600 strains of an aerosolized thought control vaccine already tested on humans; deployed via air, food and water
Italian court rules mercury and aluminum in vaccines cause autism: US media continues total blackout of medical truth
The 21 curious questions we're never allowed to ask about vaccines
Vicious attack on Dr. Oz actually waged by biotech mafia; plot to destroy Oz launched after episode on glyphosate toxicity went viral
Orthorexia Nervosa - New mental disorder aimed at people who insist on eating a clean diet
Delicious
(NaturalNews) If you have ever had a dog or other pet get snagged by them, then you already know how difficult it can be to remove porcupine quills from skin and tissue. But a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says the mechanism by which porcupine quills so easily penetrate the skin and stay there almost like an adhesive could play an important role in the advancement of medicine.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School (HMS) in Boston and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge set out to study how the quills of porcupines, and specifically those of the North American porcupine, work so well at protecting porcupines against their predators. Upon investigation, the team, led by Woo Kyung Cho from HMS, learned that special microscopic barbs on the animals' quills appear to be the key to their penetrative effectiveness.

As it turns out, the quills found on the backs of North American porcupines -- these quills can number in the tens of thousands -- bear unique microscopic barbs that are conically arranged around the quills' tips. These barbs, which under a microscope somewhat resemble the seeds surrounding a pine cone, are pointed backwards, which means they can very easily slice through skin and tissue by applying many small, directed points of pressure on a surface area, similar to how a serrated knife cuts through bread.

Once lodged inside, these barbs cling to tissue, which makes pulling them out rather difficult. This is the reason, of course, why the porcupine is able to effectively defend itself against attackers. But what fascinated researchers the most about this discovery was how easily these tiny barbs, which cannot be seen by the naked eye, were able to effectively enter test skin without much force, which could have huge implications for future medical treatments, they say.

"The tests revealed that the barbed quills need only half as much force to penetrate pig skin as quills that have had the barbs removed -- but it takes four times as much force to pull them out," writes Ed Yong from Nature about the discovery. "On entry, the barbs localize forces at small points, like the serrated edges of a knife. But if the quill is pulled backwards, the barbs flare out and snag on tissue fibers."

Borrowing from nature to improve medical technologies

Simulating the natural design of the quills, researchers are already working on improved hypodermic needles that more easily penetrate the skin while causing less pain. The barb concept is also being incorporated into medical staples and other adhesives commonly used in medicine to repair injuries, which could become stronger and much more effective using porcupine technology.

"Towards medical applications, we developed plastic replicas that remarkably mimicked the reduced penetration forces and increased pullout," explained Dr. Jeffrey Karp one of the study's co-authors from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. "This should be useful to develop next generation medical adhesives and potentially design needles with reduced pain."

Sources for this article include:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk

http://www.nature.com

http://www.npr.org

Join over four million monthly readers. Your privacy is protected. Unsubscribe at any time.
comments powered by Disqus
Take Action: Support NaturalNews.com by linking back to this article from your website

Permalink to this article:

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):

Reprinting this article:
Non-commercial use OK, cite NaturalNews.com with clickable link.

Follow Natural News on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest

Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

GET SHOW DETAILS
+ a FREE GIFT

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source: Alexa.com)

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.