Trypanophobia is commonly known as the fear of needles. This is a very common phobia, and it’s understandable. Not too many people get excited when they have to go to the doctor to get shots, and for some, it’s one of the most terrifying things to go through. Luckily, as technology advances, the administration of medication and vaccines comes with it. There are some exciting advancements for both the cosmetic and medicinal industries for those who have a fear of needles.
Currently, cosmetic injections are a common way to reduce aging and generally improve appearance. But what if you have a fear of needles? These injections are only as bad as a small pinch, no worse than a 2 or 3 out of 10 on a pain scale, but for those who fear needles, it can be a very difficult process. For these people, they may want to feel more comfortable in their bodies and have more confidence in their appearance, but the fear of needles might prevent them from being their best selves.
Luckily, needle-free solutions are currently in development. Needle-free exosome treatments are now being tested to reduce wrinkles in mice who have been exposed to UV rays. Collagen is the main structural protein in skin, and it has been recently discovered that exosomes (“membranous vesicles containing protein and RNA that cells release to communicate with each other”) can increase the amount of collagen in skin cells. By increasing the amount of collagen, skin cells are more structurally sound and make your skin look younger.
Vaccines are an essential part of our society. While not everyone has to be vaccinated, through herd immunity we’ve been able to eradicate diseases like smallpox and polio. Flu shots are also extremely common, as the flu can be extremely debilitating, and possibly even lethal. Those severe cases often affect children through the age of 5, and adults over the age of 65. But regardless of your age, what if you can’t stand the needle?
Researchers at the University of Rochester have received positive results when testing vaccine patches on mice. While not quite ready for human use, these patches could reduce the cost of widespread flu vaccinations, making them more accessible to people who have a fear of needles as well as developing nations. This development could serve to shape the way that the medical industry advances in the future.
Could this mean developments for animals too?
It’s a normal part of getting a new puppy or kitten: bring him or her to the vet every 3 or 4 weeks (up to 16 weeks) to get their vaccines. But what about countries that have a large stray population or people who can’t afford those vet visits?
For nations with an uncontrollable dog population, rabies is a huge issue. It’s extremely difficult and costly to implement mass vaccinations among a growing stray dog population. However, patches with dissolving microneedles containing a rabies vaccination have been tested and could lead to a better and cheaper way to protect both humans and animals.
It’s estimated that around 415 million people worldwide have diabetes. For these people, you have to administer insulin shots to yourself. Unfortunately, for people who fear needles, this can be an insurmountable struggle, preventing them from taking the necessary medicine.
As of recently, insulin pills were tested on rats, and seem to work fairly well. There have been many barriers to the development of these, namely getting past the stomach without getting digested and passing through the intestinal wall since the insulin molecules are so large. It’s expected that this solution could possibly come to human testing within the next 3 to 5 years.
The Future of Needles
In today’s medical industry, needles are a barrier for many people, for both those who can’t afford them and those who fear them. Luckily, the future is always coming, and needle-free solutions are being developed. As the medical industry grows, we look forward to seeing what human innovation can bring.