Skip to main content

Medical Researchers Look to the Porcupine

min read

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


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


The Top Medical Breakthroughs To Watch Out For In 2014
By Emily Lockhart Health Studies in the News

The Top Medical Breakthroughs To Watch Out For In 2014

Three-dimensional body parts and bionic eyes might sound like something out of a futuristic comic book. However, the following nine health breakthroughs are among the most incredible medical advances to watch out for in 2014! 1. Cancer Immunotherapy Cancer is getting a serious kick in the britches this year starting with a treatment called cancer […]

Read More about The Top Medical Breakthroughs To Watch Out For In 2014

3 min read

The 10 Leading Health Stories of 2013
By Emily Lockhart Diet and Nutrition News & Advice

The 10 Leading Health Stories of 2013

Looking back on 2013, I can’t honestly say if we are any healthier this year than we were in past years. But I do believe (for the most part) the web and social media are putting more and better quality health, fitness, and nutrition information at the fingertips of readers than every before, and […]

Read More about The 10 Leading Health Stories of 2013

5 min read