Current medical adhesives have their limitations.
The materials for stitching up injuries and surgical wounds may have changed over the millennia, but the basic process of suturing tissue remains the same. In the 21st century, however, the method may finally become outdated.
“Stiches are a very crude way to put someone back together,” says Andrew Smith, a professor of biology at Ithaca College. Think about it: You’re sewing two bits of skin together. Smith’s research focus is in gels, specifically the gels secreted by certain slugs and snails. It’s the stuff that lets the mollusks stick to wave-battered rocks or stay firmly glued in place when hungry birds try to pry them off and into their gullets.
No more popped stitches
Current medical adhesives have their limitations. When binding internal surgical incisions for example, stitches and staples are still the go-to method because adhesives will ultimately fail from exposure to bodily fluids. However, stitches and staples can fail as well, causing leakage and other complications.
Modern adhesives also fail when it comes to holding jagged cuts together; they work best when the cut is relatively straight and clean (and not too deep). Smith’s work with slugs and snails, and the work of others researching the biomechanics of creatures such as mussels and barnacles, are paving the way to that day in the not-too-distant future when a needle and suture, or staple, are obsolete.
“Gel like this would make an ideal medical adhesive, Smith says. “It would stick to wet surfaces, and no matter how much the tissue flexed and bent, the gel would flex and bend with it. There would be no leakage or scarring. ”
The secret is in the gel
Snail and slug gel typically functions as a slippery lubricant to help the animal glide across surfaces. Chemically, Smith describes these gels as “a dilute, tangled network of polymers” that are neither a solid nor fluid. He and the undergraduate students who help with research in his lab are examining the internal chemical processes whereby a slug or other mollusk converts that lubricant into powerful glue.
What they’ve determined so far is that ions of metal such as zinc, calcium, iron and copper help create strong cross-links between those polymers, which stiffen the gel. It’s a very quick process: Smith said collecting slugs requires him to deftly flick them into a plastic bag with a pencil, before they realize what’s happening. Otherwise, the slug will secrete its defensive goo and Smith would be unable to collect it.
The Latest on: Slug Glue
- Tales, Dreams and a Place to Put Them: Utah’s First 24-Hour Comic Creation Event on October 5, 2018 at 3:29 pm
scissors or a glue stick. Make what you can make, the goal is 24 pages in 24 hours however you get there is up to you. SLUG: During the event, are there exercises performed to get the creative juices ... […]
- CWAC football: Time for losing is over on September 25, 2018 at 5:00 am
Ellensburg fell off the grid a year ago with an 0-4 start and East Valley wasn’t in the picture, leaving Ephrata and Othello to slug it out for the two top spots and the chance to advance to the Glue ... […]
- Inspired by slug slime, this surgical glue is strong enough to patch up a beating heart on September 24, 2018 at 5:00 pm
Mashable is a global, multi-platform media and entertainment company. Powered by its own proprietary technology, Mashable is the go-to source for tech, digital culture and entertainment content for it... […]
- Music Scene: SLUG returns after 2-year hiatus on November 23, 2017 at 11:46 am
2002’s “Hippies, Monsters, Mimes and Lawyers,” and 2014’s “Rescued From the Glue Factory” as well as some Grateful Dead tunes, traditional blues and Bob Dylan, and a few Fletcher originals new and old ... […]
- The future of sutures and staples: A sealant inspired by slugs on November 21, 2017 at 4:00 pm
Although sutures and staples have been used for decades to close wounds or ... The team was inspired by the Dusky Arion slug's elastic defensive slime. The slime, a mucus-based multicomponent glue tha... […]
- New super-glue inspired by slug slime on September 18, 2017 at 10:35 am
Surgeons close internal incisions with stitches and staples but they, and their patients, would benefit from a glue that stays stuck even to wet tissue and organs. Researchers from McGill University i... […]
- Slug-Inspired Glue Patches Beating Hearts on July 31, 2017 at 7:02 am
A new glue inspired by slug slime can mend a broken heart. The adhesive, described today (July 27) in a new study in the journal Science, sticks to wet surfaces, including the surface of a beating hea... […]
- Stretchy glue inspired by slugs could be the future of sutures on July 27, 2017 at 1:07 pm
(c) 2017, The Washington Post. Inspired by slug slime, scientists have developed a flexible adhesive that sticks to wet surfaces. This stretchy glue can be attached to a beating, bleeding heart and co... […]
- Slug mucus glue that stops internal bleeding created on July 27, 2017 at 12:48 pm
Sticky slug mucus has been used to create a glue that can stop internal bleeding by binding biological tissues together—even when they are wet. Scientists tested the adhesive on a range of tissues, in... […]
- Slug Slime Inspires Scientists To Invent Sticky Surgical Glue on July 27, 2017 at 11:55 am
The European slug is average in every way: slimy, brownish, shorter than a credit card. But Arion subfuscus has a minor superpower: When it's scared, it can glue itself to wet surfaces very well, and ... […]
via Google News and Bing News