The Loh Down On Science

What do you get when you put slugs and pigs under UV light?

Can you mend a broken heart with … glue?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, 

Saying:  Harvard and MIT researchers can!  

They've created an adhesive gel modeled after slug slime.  Why slugs?  These critters’ mucus sticks perfectly to wet surfaces.  

That’s important when fixing bloody tissues.  But they tweaked it so that:  (A)  It solidifies after a brief blast of ultraviolet light;  (B)  It penetrates and anchors into tissue;  ©  It becomes flexible and elastic; and (D)  It's nontoxic.

In the adhesive, UV light sparks a reaction that tightens the glue's molecular bonds.  So the goo cures and locks in place.  The team applied it to cuts in the carotid arteries of pigs.  The bleeding stopped in under five seconds, no pigs died, and there were no complications later on!  Then they patched holes in pigs’ hearts—while the hearts were beating!  Again, worked like a magical charm. 

The stuff could replace cave-man-y things like staples and stitches in a couple of years.

As for bad romance broken hearts?  Still nothing better than ice cream.

***** For more 90-SECOND SCIENCE FACTS, click here.*****

The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, in partnership with the University of California, Irvine, and 89.3 KPCC. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.


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