Skip to main content

Medical Researchers Look to the Porcupine

By Emily Lockhart

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

Emily Lockhart

Contributor

Emily Lockhart is a certified yoga instructor and personal trainer. She believes that being healthy is a lifestyle choice, not a punishment or temporary fix to attain a desired fitness or body image goal. Anna helps her clients take responsibility for their own health and wellness through her classes and articles on ActiveBeat.

Health Studies in the News

Explore

What is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy?
By Katherine George Your Health

What is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy?

EMDR is a fairly new and nontradiational type of psychotherapy. It has become increasingly popular for treating PTSD. To learn more about it, here’s a look into what it is, how it works, if it’s effective, and the potential risks and benefits…

Read More about What is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy?

7 min read

Lung Cancer Rates Have Decreased for the Marlboro Man, but Have Risen Steeply for Nonsmokers and Young Women – An Oncologist Explains Why
By Estelamari Rodriguez Your Health

Lung Cancer Rates Have Decreased for the Marlboro Man, but Have Risen Steeply for Nonsmokers and Young Women – An Oncologist Explains Why

When many people think of an average lung cancer patient, they often imagine an older man smoking. But the face of lung cancer has changed. Over the past 15 years, more women, never smokers and younger people are being diagnosed with lung cancer. In fact, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among […]

Read More about Lung Cancer Rates Have Decreased for the Marlboro Man, but Have Risen Steeply for Nonsmokers and Young Women – An Oncologist Explains Why

4 min read

Ultra-Processed Foods – Like Cookies, Chips, Frozen Meals and Fast Food – May Contribute to Cognitive Decline
By Sara N. Burke Your Health

Ultra-Processed Foods – Like Cookies, Chips, Frozen Meals and Fast Food – May Contribute to Cognitive Decline

Scientists have known for years that unhealthy diets – particularly those that are high in fat and sugar – may cause detrimental changes to the brain and lead to cognitive impairment. Many factors that contribute to cognitive decline are out of a person’s control, such as genetics and socioeconomic factors. But ongoing research increasingly indicates […]

Read More about Ultra-Processed Foods – Like Cookies, Chips, Frozen Meals and Fast Food – May Contribute to Cognitive Decline

5 min read