Porcupines key to Painless Needles

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Dec 12, 2012

Porcupines key to painless needles

Inspired by the properties of porcupine quills, researchers are working on the possibilities to develop painless hypodermic needles that can penetrate the skin more easily and resist buckling.

The scientists are also working to use porcupine quills to develop various medical equipments such as super glues, needles, etc.

The North American porcupine carries almost 30,000 quills studded with backward-facing barbs, which can anchor the quill into the flesh with minimum penetration.

Study leader Dr Jeffrey Karp, from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, US, said: "We were most surprised to find that the barbs on quills serve a dual function. Namely, the barbs reduce the penetration force for easy insertion into tissue and maximise the holding force to make the quills incredibly difficult to remove.”


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