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Biotech Science

Shrimp-Based Bandages Save Lives 65

Posted by timothy
from the and-boy-are-they-tasty dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "Unstoppable bleeding is one of the leading causes of death on battlefields. But now, soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan have a way to reduce bleeding when they're wounded. In "War Bandages," ScienCentral News writes that these new bandages contain chitosan molecules, extracted from shrimp shells. These positively charged chitosan molecules attract negatively charged red blood cells, stopping hemorrhage in one to five minutes. As said one of the co-founders of the Oregon-based company behind these bandages, "You can have a hole in your heart and 60 seconds later it's sealed." The Food and Drug Administration approved these bandages for human usage, but today they are exclusively sold to the Army. With a $90 price tag for a 4-inch-by-4-inch single bandage, would you buy them anyway? This overview contains more details and references. It also shows you how the red blood cells are attracted by the chitosan molecules."
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Shrimp-Based Bandages Save Lives

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  • by zulux (112259) on Saturday August 28, 2004 @03:17PM (#10097731) Homepage Journal


    When you need one to stop a gusher - $90 is going to seem cheap when somebody's life is on the line.

    • If I can carry one in my wallet for a couple of years then yeah sure. Most people in "civilian" accidents don't bleed to death from open wounds so the chances of being or finding someone else in a accident where this is usefull is remote but then again I also always carry a condom.
    • There is a problem with them... anyone with a seafood allergy WILL get some sort of allergic reaction, if not full blown anaphylaxis. This is also common in products that have glucosamine as an ingredient. I've had to disuade many an arthritic person from buying glucosamine. (I do work in the medical/pharmaceutical field)
      • At the point where you need to use a bandage that stops "unstoppable bleeding", I doubt if a small chance of a seafood allergy is going to matter anyway.
      • Doesnt that mean that the pills which are said to include glucosamine in fact contain something else? You can't have an allergic reaction to an amino acid, only to proteins (or organisms which are composed of protein).

        This is the reason free-form amino acids are on the market. Amino acids derived from other proteins are never 100% pure and should be avoided as their sources can be quite unusual.
  • by WormholeFiend (674934) on Saturday August 28, 2004 @03:30PM (#10097816)
    from the movie Independence Day:

    "You don't actually think they spend twenty thousand dollars on a hammer, thirty thousand dollars on a toilet seat, do you?"
  • by TykeClone (668449) <TykeClone@gmail.com> on Saturday August 28, 2004 @03:38PM (#10097855) Homepage Journal
    I volunteer as a driver on our rural ambulance service. The closest hospital is about 30 miles away - about a half hour or less driving time.

    In the event of a vehicle or farm accident, I'd like to see these bandages available to our EMT's - all they need to do is to buy about 30 minutes.

  • by JavaRob (28971) on Saturday August 28, 2004 @03:45PM (#10097899) Homepage Journal
    I have a feeling that if I had a wound that would *require* this kind of bandage, I'd be incapacitated enough that I wouldn't be able to get to the glove box.

    On the other hand, I might be able to save someone else's life. We've all heard about the staggering numbers of deaths in auto accidents... I wonder if a percentage of those might not have been fatalities if the EMT's (or other drivers) had materials like this.

    It might also be worth it for people with blood clotting problems, who (without proper care) could bleed to death from a bad papercut. Does it work for them?
  • by nusratt (751548) on Saturday August 28, 2004 @03:54PM (#10097953) Journal
    "You can have a hole in your heart and 60 seconds later it's sealed."

    ummm...how large a hole can you have for SIXTY SECONDS without already being doomed to eventual death from shock or brain hypoxia or circulatory collapse?

    and how long does it take from the time the hole is created until the time it's realized, exposed, and then treated?
    • what i'd like to know is how the hell they test that. :S

      on second thought, no i wouldn't.

    • ummm...how large a hole can you have for SIXTY SECONDS without already being doomed to eventual death from shock or brain hypoxia or circulatory collapse?

      and how long does it take from the time the hole is created until the time it's realized, exposed, and then treated?


      A .223 round is pretty small. If it passed through cleanly there would certainly be rapid blood loss, but maybe not enough to kill you in 60 seconds.

      Of course you bring up the essential point - how is a medic in the field supposed to get
  • Just the Army? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by devphil (51341) on Saturday August 28, 2004 @04:08PM (#10098033) Homepage


    Weird. I knew a former Marine who talked about using the shrimp-based bandages for wounds. They've been atound for a while, that's for sure.

  • by topher1kenobe (2041) on Saturday August 28, 2004 @04:44PM (#10098311) Homepage
    If I could buy one for $90 and throw it in my med kit and leave it there for 4 years, you bet. If it expires after 2 months, no way.

    I have sterile bandages in there that are years old, and are still good because I take care of them.
  • Shrimp and Potatoes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by displague (4438) <slashdotNO@SPAMdisplague.com> on Saturday August 28, 2004 @05:51PM (#10098752) Homepage Journal
    Potatoes stop bleeding [ksl.com] too. I thought I originally read this on Slashdot, but Google is not being helpful. Actually, it's like dried potatoe flakes or powder. But the story is the same, it near instantly stops bleeding.
    • by JavaRob (28971)
      Boy, this thread is making me hungry. Shrimp, potatoes... how about some Cajun seasoning? Will that stop bleeding?
      • by Nutria (679911)
        how about some Cajun seasoning? Will that stop bleeding?

        Gash yourself, then pour salt and cayenne on the would, and get back to us, ok?
        • Re:Boy (Score:2, Funny)

          by JavaRob (28971)
          Gash yourself, then pour salt and cayenne on the wound, and get back to us, ok?

          Ah... I'd be glad to, but that wouldn't follow the scientific process, now would it? We'll need to set up a double-blind study. Any volunteers?
        • by Alyred (667815)
          Actually, Cayenne pepper is a great antiseptic and helps clot wounds pretty well too.
          No, it doesn't sting like salt.
    • potatoe

      Didn't Dan Quayle get in trouble for this?
      • potatoe

        Didn't Dan Quayle get in trouble for this?


        Yep. Well, he was character-assassinated by the media for it anyway.

        They used it to prove how "dumb" Quayle really was. Sound familiar?

        They typically didn't report that he was working off a flash-card with the word pre-spelled for him by whomever had organized the spelling bee.

        Of course, we all know that impeccable spelling skills are essential for national leadership, right? People who write copy all day (and thus need to be good spellers) found t
  • Shellfish! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AllMightyPaul (553038) on Saturday August 28, 2004 @06:54PM (#10099183)
    Will it work if you're allergic to shell-fish? That's what I want to know.
    • Take the lesser of two evils... how allergic to shell fish are you? If its enough to kill you then I wouldn't try. If you get a rash or hives or something, it might be preferable to use one of these bandaids if your at risk of bleeding to death.
    • Re:Shellfish! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bill_mcgonigle (4333) *
      Will it work if you're allergic to shell-fish? That's what I want to know.

      The clotting should work. Let's hope there's an epi stick in the first aid kit too and you can not die both ways.

      I wonder if the low blood pressure associated with anaphylaxis could be beneficial in the case of a gushing wound.

      If it's refined enough you'd probably not have to worry in the first place.
    • Well, I would have to wonder what part of the shellfish one is allergic to.

      I know for me it's the content of some of them. I can eat shrimp, if they've been well cleaned. Crab and lobster I've never had problems with. I can't eat scallops without swelling and slight difficulty breathing.

      Since they are only using a small component of the shrimp in the bandage, I wonder if that's the common part that most are allergic to.
  • by Myself (57572) on Saturday August 28, 2004 @06:58PM (#10099217) Journal
    In folks who're allergic to shellfish, which part is it that triggers the reaction? Peanut and shellfish allergies never seem to be mild, and while this is a wonderful lifesaving development, I wonder whether other methods should be kept handy in case this particular one would kill a particular person.
    • If the bandage is going to be used for civilian emergencies then perhaps other methods are needed. However in the military a person with such an allergy could be considered medically unfit for service and be denied enlistment.
    • You moron, chitosan is not a shrimp-specific substance, it is a moderately common biological chemical. It's a derivative of chitin, and it's common in exoskeletons of various animals. They just happened to use shrimp to get it for this application, probably because they're easiest to extract it from.
    • Also, how does this affect Jewish people or other people who cannot eat shellfish? I understand that you're not eating this treatment, but do the religious teachings prevent you from any sort of shellfish in the body, not just eating them?
      • Jews aren't like Christian Scientists. They will make all sorts of exceptions to any rule to save a life.
        • Well, I understand that. I guess my question was more just general, and also could they use this if another option were available? Say another bandage that would still save the life but may not be as good.
          • Don't know enough about it to be more specific. Sorry, IMNAR. (I am not a Rabbi). Also I am not Jewish.
          • God hates shrimp. [godhatesshrimp.com]

            Leviticus 11:9-12 [gospelcom.net] says:
            9 These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.
            10 And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:
            11 They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.
            1
    • by bluGill (862)

      Every emergency room I know of would prefer to treat an allergic reaction to treating complete loss of blood. Allergies are serious, but the odds of surviving even the worst cases when you are in the hospital are much higher than the odds of surviving loss of most of your blood.

    • by Nutria (679911)
      In folks who're allergic to shellfish, which part is it that triggers the reaction? Peanut and shellfish allergies never seem to be mild, and while this is a wonderful lifesaving development, I wonder whether other methods should be kept handy in case this particular one would kill a particular person.

      Allergic reactions get triggered by eating shellfish, not touching them...
  • I wouldn't, but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Undefined Parameter (726857) <fuel4freedom@yahoo. c o m> on Saturday August 28, 2004 @09:35PM (#10100030)
    I probably wouldn't buy one at ninety bucks a bandage, but I would think that hemophiliacs (and their parents) would definitely consider such a cost... well, inconsiderable.

    ~UP
  • I'm not saying that this is a bad product... it sounds like a great idea, but I just don't want people thinking it's the mericle cure to bleeding. The "hole in the heart" quote (which someone else above me has already commented on) is rediculous. How are you to stop internal bleeding?

    If you get shot in the heart... sticking a patch on the hole in your chest won't help. You're dead before this bandage has time to clot your blood.
  • by kgp (172015) on Saturday August 28, 2004 @11:48PM (#10100635)
    The rection is very exothermic (generates a lot of heat). In fact enough heat to cause serious burns (an extra complication). The trick for using the version issued to the army in powedered form is to be trained to use just enough powder.

    Would anyone have them at home. Sure. Imagine a deep glass wound to the neck, arm or leg without immediate treatment (pressure to the wound or this material) you could be dead in minutes. I think this will find it's way into better First Aid boxes. EMT and other first responders (including the police) could use it now.
  • by digital photo (635872) on Sunday August 29, 2004 @11:51PM (#10106373) Homepage Journal

    Imagine a car accident, you drive by and see someone clutching their wrist/arm/etc and is applying pressure to stop the bleeding.

    If one of the these patch bandaids can stop hemorraging type bleeding in 60 seconds, that would be a life saver. It means the difference between making it to the hospital or dying on the way.

    The same would apply to shootings where the wound itself didn't damage anything life theatening, but did result in a badly bleeding wound. A patch bandaid capable of stopping the bleeding would be a godsend.

    As another pointed out, seafood allergies would suck.

    These can also be of great assistance in helping people who have "accidentally" cut their wrists or otherwise rendered a life threatening wound where death by bloodloss may result.

    At $90 a pop for a 4"x4" bandage isn't cheap, but that is relative. If you just suffered an accident with a sharp piece of metal and are bleeding badly, $90 to stop the bleeding and save your life will be a bargain.

    I would imagine that for smaller wounds, the bandage can be cut into smaller sections.

    If they can drop the price to $10 per 4"x4" bandage and sell them in packs of 4-5, you would be able to offer them in local stores, to ERT/EMT, and to schools.

    This kind of medical discovery is what we need more of. Ways to save lives.

  • Why spend $90 when you can just buy these little guys? [sea-monkeys.com]

    Entertaining and life saving! And as an added bonus, you can celebrate your recovery by throwing your bandages on the barbie!

"It is better to have tried and failed than to have failed to try, but the result's the same." - Mike Dennison

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