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Hydrogel injections could increase wounded soldier survival rates

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If a team of researchers from MIT and Texas A&M University have their way, wounded soldiers will have soon have a better chance of survival. The project is a biodegradable gelatin that once injected, helps with blood coagulation, cutting down on blood loss internally. In some trials, the hydrogel decreased the time it took for the blood to clot by 77 percent after it maneuvered into position. The medical solution is still in the testing phase, but once its perfected, researchers hope to see soldiers add preloaded syringes packed with the material to their gear arsenals.

[Image credit: Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images]

"The time to get to a medical facility can take a half hour to an hour, and this hour is crucial; it can decide life and death," explains Akhilesh Gaharwar, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Texas A&M. "Our material's combination of injectability, rapid mechanical recovery, physiological stability and the ability to promote coagulation result in a hemostat for treating incompressible wounds in out-of-hospital, emergency situations." What's more, the group is currently working to develop the material into a two-stage treatment that aids with the regeneration of tissue, too.

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