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Medical Researchers Look to the Porcupine

A porcupine’s quills may be dangerous for those who get to close, but medical researchers have actually found that the creature’s quills can be used for several medical advancements.

A collaborative team of researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Brigham Women’s Hospital in Boston have found that porcupine quills can be used in the creation of medical adhesives (for surgeries such as gastric bypass), as well as the administration of needles due to the shape of the quill itself. The North American porcupine’s quills have a four-millimeter tip covered in microscopic barbs, which penetrate the skin and muscle with ease, but are difficult to remove.

Researchers see merit in the quill’s ability quill to easily puncture the skin of the porcupine’s enemies when they found that quills with barbs required 60 to 70 percent less force to penetrate the muscle than quills without barbs. They now believe that these quills might hold the secret to a more effiencient puncture process when it comes to administering painful shots.

Additional use was found for the quills when scientists examined them after penetrating the skin. It was discovered that the barbs acted as anchors, essentially keeping the quills in place, which could offer some innovative solutions for creating stronger, more effective medical adhesives.

Source: Fox News


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