Parasites for health?

Parasites use their hosts. They use us. We are now learning to use them. The impressive-looking Pomphorhynchus laevis inspired researchers at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital to design micro-needles, a better way to attach skin grafts.

parasite, Pomphorhynchus laevis

Parasite serves as a model for better wound-healing patches

“The unique design allows the needles to stick to soft tissues with minimal damage to the tissues,” Dr. Jeffrey Karp, the study’s senior author, said in a press release. “Moreover, when it comes time to remove the adhesive, compared to staples, there is less trauma inflicted to the tissue, blood and nerves, as well as a reduced risk of infection.”

    You have to hand it to the little monster, writes Slate’s Jason Bittel —it just revealed a treasure trove of biomimetic sucking technology. And that’s a heckuva lot more appealing than the other trick up its proboscis: The spiny-headed worm can use mind control to make its host commit suicide.
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