Because of spam, I personally moderate all comments left on my blog. However, because of health issues, I will not be able to do so in the future.

If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at I will try to respond.

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In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Nanotech Bandaids

I'm an sf writer, so it's rare that in the real world I run across something that sounds as if it came directly from the pages of a story, but this bit of nanotechnology - discovered by accident - is so nifty in its simplicity and usefulness that it just stunned me.

From MIT's Technology Review magazine:

In 2001, Rutledge Ellis-Behnke, PhD '03, a research scientist in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, was doing surgical research on hamster brains. He and his colleagues were using a liquid made of protein fragments known as peptides to encourage the regeneration of neural tissue, a prospective treatment for stroke.


Through a string of experiments at the University of Hong Kong, he discovered that when the liquid is applied to a surgical wound in a mouse or hamster, the peptides self-assemble into a nanoscale barrier that seals the wound. Once the wound heals, the nontoxic gel is broken down into molecules that cells use for tissue repair, Ellis-Behnke explains.

The researchers (including Kwok-Fai So, PhD '77, head of the Department of Anatomy at the University of Hong Kong) published the results in October 2006 in the journal Nanomedicine, noting that this was the first time nanotechnology had been used to halt bleeding in damaged blood vessels without clotting. "We have found a way to stop bleeding in less than 15 seconds that could revolutionize bleeding control," Ellis-Behnke says.

A zingier article is up at the Discover magazine website:
Researchers have stumbled upon a clear liquid that, in tests conducted so far, stops bleeding in about 15 seconds, faster and with fewer complications than other methods available today.

The researchers, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Hong Kong, have found a liquid that, according to one of the researchers, MIT's Rutledge Ellis-Behnke, can be applied "wherever there's an injury or a cut, and it ... stops bleeding right away without clotting."

Another member of the research team, Gerald Schneider, also of MIT, says its easy to administer and that, "You could put it in a tube and squeeze it out like toothpaste."

Ellis-Behnke adds when you wipe away the liquid, bleeding resumes, but if you reapply the liquid it stops.

The gel uses amino acids, the body's building blocks, to create nano-scale fibers that Ellis-Behnke says, "May be self assembling into a nano-patch." He describes the effect as similar to hair clogging a drain.

Very, very cool.

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