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Spiderwebs may inspire better medical tape
October 29th, 2012
03:00 PM ET

Spiderwebs may inspire better medical tape

Taking medical tape off an adult isn't too painful because breakage occurs in the glue (you can sometimes see the leftover residue). But removing the same adhesive from a newborn can break fragile skin, causing significant damage, says Jeffrey Karp, researcher at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

Traditional medical tape has two layers: the sticky one and the non-sticky one that forms the backing. The adhesive is designed for adults, Karp said; newborns need something else just for them.

In the neonatal intensive care unit tape often needs to be changed, Karp said. If the tape is on a joint, peeling the fragile skin can cause mobility problems.

"The kids are just completely helpless here," he said.
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