Animal medicine: I think I sting ... tree spike?

Have you never heard of the tree prick? Admittedly, neither do we - until today. But that could change soon. The porcupine relative will become a role model for medicine in the future. More specifically: his spines. Because with them, injections should be placed more gently. A blessing for everyone with syringe phobia? Stinger of a tree stinger are a role model for medicine - Image: (CC) Flickr / marcwitzel (Marc Witzel)

Blood sampling, vaccinations - for people with injection phobia, these are horror ideas. Thanks to the cute tree stinger, at least some of them could lose their fear of the pointed needles in the future. Because, as so often, nature is a little bit ahead of people and medicine. As the "Spiegel" reports, an American team of researchers from the Harvard Medical School in Cambridge found that the stinger of the tree spike can penetrate tissue much more gently and with less effort than normal cannulas. The result is less pain.

The trick: Each of the approximately 30,000 spines is provided with small scales that act like barbs. These not only ensure that the spines are stuck afterwards, but also that they can penetrate tissue more easily. But how could a syringe be removed afterwards? Fortunately, the positive properties of the tree spike "weapon" are retained even when the barbs are removed. The scientists have already tested a prototype. In addition to syringes, medicine also hopes for profitable developments for other medical devices.

For people who are afraid of syringes, maybe another trick could be used: Just look at a few pictures of the cute tree stinger from the American continent and the needle and pikser are forgotten. It would be worth a try.

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