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Mending Hearts With Light-Activated Glue

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the only-if-you're-out-of-duct-tape dept.

Medicine 38

the_newsbeagle writes "When surgeons set out to repair holes in the walls of the heart's chambers or in blood vessels, they often do invasive open-heart surgery and use sutures, staples, and glue to keep a patch in place. But the sutures and staples are a rough fix, and many of the glues on the market today don't work well on wet tissue that's continually flexed by the heart's contractions and the movement of pumping blood. Today biomaterial researchers announced a new light-activated glue that could make surgery less invasive, quicker, and easier. The adhesive was inspired by slugs' and sandcastle worms' sticky secretions, which work underwater, and it can be applied with slender tools during minimally invasive surgery. A flash of UV light then sets the glue, which bends and flexes with the tissue."

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38 comments

Great technology (-1, Flamebait)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 7 months ago | (#45901885)

This should help a lot of people. It's too bad that many patients will still credit God with the success of their procedure.

Re:Great technology (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 7 months ago | (#45901911)

Or maybe we shouldn't worry about people who get one small fact wrong.

Religion is just one of many many many ways to be wrong about the world, and getting upset that someone dares to make a mistake just seems silly.

Re:Great technology (1, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | about 7 months ago | (#45901919)

So you're saying that scientists invented slugs and sandcastle worms?

Re:Great technology (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45902013)

God created the scientists, the matter that they used, and the universe that they made this in -- dumbass.

Re:Great technology (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about 7 months ago | (#45902025)

You ask me if I have a God complex? I AM GOD! [youtube.com]

Re:Great technology (-1, Troll)

pspahn (1175617) | about 7 months ago | (#45902591)

Ponder the intricate structure of something as fundamental as the Periodic Table of Elements or the constant e and try to argue that these things "just are" and aren't in fact parameters to some entity's ridiculously complex algorithm.

Re:Great technology (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45902999)

I confess that this is a bit of a bugbear for me. I've seen people who've just come out of lengthy and complex surgery, for example, who will thank God for living with nary a thought for who gave them the boo-boo in the first place* or who it was who actually worked to save them.

*Sorry, but either God both caused and cured it or God did neither. You can't have your deity cake and eat it too.

Re:Great technology (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 7 months ago | (#45907939)

I've seen people who've just come out of lengthy and complex surgery, for example, who will thank God for living with nary a thought for who gave them the boo-boo in the first place* or who it was who actually worked to save them.

Assume for a moment that God does, in fact, exist and did create everything, as Christians, Jews, and Muslims believe. You are just a program, a story, designed to be temporary (or at least your physical form is). You can let a heart patient (your program) live or you can make him die. Why should that program NOT thank you for not deleting it?

The people who thank God for their recovery see the surgeons as being used by God.

Reminds me of some dental technology (4, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | about 7 months ago | (#45901937)

Light-activated resin [wikipedia.org]

Finally getting laid? (4, Funny)

bob_super (3391281) | about 7 months ago | (#45901981)

"I'm the world's leading researcher in the field of slugs' and sandcastle worms' "
just got replaced by:
"My research is used by heart surgeons to save lives and ease recovery"

Yep, someone's life just got a lot easier at parties...

Re:Finally getting laid? (1)

Cryacin (657549) | about 7 months ago | (#45902019)

Yep, someone's life just got a lot easier at parties...

Be still my beating heart attack.

Re:Finally getting laid? (2)

Krishnoid (984597) | about 7 months ago | (#45902101)

Or even better, "I'm scientifically helping people mend their broken hearts."

Re:Finally getting laid? (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 7 months ago | (#45902125)

Please. You don't say you research sandcastle worms. You say you do research on Phragmatopoma californica. Why else do you think they invented binomial nomenclature?

Re:Finally getting laid? (2)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 7 months ago | (#45902837)

"Oh, cool. So, what does that mean in English?"

That's the answer you'll get from a surprisingly large number of people if you're involved in research and try to dazzle them with technical jargon, thus defeating the whole purpose of trying to use that jargon in the first place. People generally aren't afraid to admit that they don't know something that they really have no reason to know. It's only when they feel like they should know something that they become self-conscious about not knowing it.

Besides which, every researcher secretly (or sometimes not-so-secretly) craves opportunities to talk about what they do, so the last thing they want to do is scare people away with terminology. The real trick is to figure out how to make what you do interesting, which is possible with pretty much any topic, but takes more work with some than others. When I was in grad school, I didn't tell people I was "conducting an analysis on the performance of massively parallelized, homogeneous, distributed web crawling systems with the intent of reducing the frequency at which undesirable resource allocations occurred". That's a quick way to end up right back where we started at the top of this comment, or else end the conversation with the other person unimpressed and thinking you're an unapproachable nerd. Instead, I explained things plainly and tied it back to stuff they knew. Once people realized they could actually understand what I was talking about and that I was capable of pulling back the curtain a bit on stuff they used every day like Google search, they'd usually pepper me with all sorts of additional questions, which I was then able to tie back to various parts of my research.

For these guys, they're not studying "slugs", "polymers", or "Phragmatopoma californica". What they're doing is "finding ways to adapt the materials we see in nature for everyday use". Or maybe they're "looking to nature for a material that can be used to help people heal faster from surgery". And if you're approachable and start from the application before working back to the source over the course of the conversation, rather than the other way around, you're the "heart guy" or "glue guy", rather than the "slug guy".

Re:Finally getting laid? (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about 7 months ago | (#45907933)

But, the kind of people who ask that question will probably also be the kind of person who can see why researching slugs is useful. There's a lot of people who will switch off their brains the instant they hear a word they don't understand, which are usually the kind of people who'll think less of you for researching slugs.

Re:Finally getting laid? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 7 months ago | (#45908133)

"Oh, cool. So, what does that mean in English?" That's the answer you'll get from a surprisingly large number of people if you're involved in research and try to dazzle them with technical jargon

That's not the reaction I get. If I'm talking to one person it's a dumb look and "Uh, OK." If there are two people one will turn and say "did you understand a word of that?" and the other will shake his head. The worst part is that they're asking me questions about their own computers.

Re:Finally getting laid? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 7 months ago | (#45902649)

Yeah, but the type of guy or girl who is more interested in slugs and worms than heart surgery is probably more interesting in the sack, so it's kind of a wash.

Re:Finally getting laid? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 7 months ago | (#45903899)

Hah, you're just jealous that you don't have any bright ideas of your own.

Re:Finally getting laid? (1)

ignavus (213578) | about 7 months ago | (#45913887)

"I'm the world's leading researcher in the field of slugs' and sandcastle worms' "
just got replaced by:
"My research is used by heart surgeons to save lives and ease recovery"

Yep, someone's life just got a lot easier at parties...

I dunno. I'm sure the slug and sandcastle worm guy would be a greater hit at some parties. Little kids love slugs and worms.

Weird science (4, Insightful)

bob_super (3391281) | about 7 months ago | (#45901995)

Remember that one the next time some politician promises to defund some oddball research because "who cares about slugs, worms or jellyfish".

Re:Weird science (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 7 months ago | (#45902657)

After Jindal mocked volcano research, then a volcano erupted, I'm guessing all politicians realized they shouldnt' do such things.

I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry at my joke there...

Re:Weird science (4, Informative)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 7 months ago | (#45902951)

One would think, but no. The prime wrong-doer in this case is Sen. Tom Coburn, of "shrimp on treadmills" mischaracterization infamy. NPR did a story on this recently. [npr.org]

It appears that Coburn knowingly omits context that would put these research projects in a much different light. Coburn is a prime example of politicians who appear to put politics above governance. He truly makes me wish there was a law which would put a bullet in any Congressman who made sophistic arguments in the course of deliberation.

Don't dentists use this? (4, Informative)

wcrowe (94389) | about 7 months ago | (#45902023)

I cracked a tooth and got a crown a couple of years ago, and this is how the crown was attached, using a light-activated adhesive.

Re:Don't dentists use this? (1)

Imagix (695350) | about 7 months ago | (#45902211)

Yes, but your teeth don't flex like your heart muscle does...

Re:Don't dentists use this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45902213)

Note two key properties of this adhesive.

1) It aheres to wet surfaces.
2) It is flexible, meaning it does not crack when flexed.

No, your dentist didn't use a glue with those properties.

Re:Don't dentists use this? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45902215)

UV set resins have been around for a long time. This new one seems particularly good for adhering to flexing and wet human tissues. It's the same basic concept as the one used on your teeth but specially tailored for a different application.

Re:Don't dentists use this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45902497)

I cracked a tooth and got a crown a couple of years ago, and this is how the crown was attached, using a light-activated adhesive.

No. The glue dentists use doesn't work on wet tissue (my dentist dried everything first) and it's probably not flexible. Both of these are listed as important in the blurb.

what (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45902169)

what

http://www.giyuu.com

Obligatory Nirvana... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45902173)

"My heart is broke, but I have some glue..."

Re:Obligatory Nirvana... (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about 7 months ago | (#45904399)

Most of us tend to call it alcohol.

Known Side Effects (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 7 months ago | (#45902383)

Burrowing in shallow water. And affection for images of staws.

Glue clogs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45902575)

And what happens when they get glue in your veins instead of the opening? Instant clogging death?

Re:Glue clogs? (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about 7 months ago | (#45907955)

Pretty much, yeah. In much the same fashion as a surgical error during a conventional surgery can often prove fatal.

Many? Not all? (1)

dwater (72834) | about 7 months ago | (#45902707)

> and many of the glues on the market today don't work well on wet tissue that's continually flexed by the heart's contractions and the movement of pumping blood.

What's the point of saying that, unless 'many' means 'all'? Just use the ones that *do* work well.

Cool for vessels, not so sure about ventricles (3, Informative)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 7 months ago | (#45903015)

When surgeons set out to repair holes in the walls of the heart's chambers or in blood vessels,

There are already transcatheter VSD/ASD occulders [google.com] that are minimally invasive (considering)and fairly well proven. They are used all the time to repair congenital defects. I am assuming that they are talking about repairing ventricular septal defects, or atrial.septal defects Since a hole in the free wall of the heart is going to kill you pretty damn fast, and will generally be caused by some type of trauma. In which case you probably have to have foreign material removed as well. I'm not as familiar with what is available for vascular repair once it's ruptured, so this sounds pretty cool. It looks like it may be more elegant than an occulder, but the images show a clamp being used. So using this, for now, means cracking the chest open. I'd say that going into the cath lab for a ASD/VSD repair is still a better option. But if they can shrink this down to the point they can fish this stuff up through the femoral artery, it will be very cool indeed.

Diagrams and charts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45904819)

Mending broken hearts and making... WEIRD SCIENCE!

"Don't Work Well"? Well, I'm Boned (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45907749)

Guess I'm screwed since I was born with a hole in my heart.

Surgery was done when I was a newborn and replaced/repaired when I was 6 or so, both done by Denton Cooley (RIP) who was pioneer in the field. It's been holding up pretty well for the last 30+ years despite my best efforts.

So who should I sue since he's no longer available?
[kidding, of course]

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