Scientists Have Finally Discover the Function of the Human Appendix

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Scientists Have Finally Discover the Function of the Human Appendix

Post by Ria on Fri May 20, 2016 10:43 am

Scientists Have Finally Discover the Function of the Human Appendix

For generations the appendix was thought to have no purpose. But now, researchers say they have discovered the true function of this organ, and it is anything but redundant.

Researchers now say that the appendix acts as a safe house for good bacteria. The body uses this to essentially “reboot” the digestive system when one suffers from a bout of dysentery or cholera.

Conventional wisdom used to claim that this small pouch protruding from the first part of the large intestine was simply redundant or an evolutionary shadow of a once useful organ. For years doctors advised people have their appendix removed and in spite of it’s now-apparent use, most seem none the worse for having it removed.Scientists from the Duke University Medical Centre in North Carolina claim that after a severe bout of dysentery or cholera, the good bacteria are being eliminated from the body and since they are crucial for digestion, the appendix serves as a reservoir and help the body to compensate these bacteria. However, Professor Bill Parker says ….

that even this discovery doesn’t mean that we should stick to the appendix at all costs. People should understand that the appendix can be removed if it gets severely inflamed, despite its beneficial function. It is interesting that this finding is not supposed to do harm to people who think that they should hold on to their appendix and won’t go to the doctor just because it has a function, the Professor explains further. An associate professor in the Department of Medical Sciences at RMIT University, Nicholas Vardaxis, declares that this theory established by the Duke University’s group of scientists makes sense. He says that this is an interesting idea and that it is possible for the appendix to be the place for these little bacteria to localize in, a little cul-de-sac away from the remaining parts. If the changes that happen through evolution are observed, then it can be concluded that the higher the animals stand in the evolutionary scale, the smaller and less significant the appendix becomes. Humans are a great instance of this claim.

“The actual normal flora bacteria within the appendix, as well within our gut, are the same, so we’ve lost all of those specialized bacteria.

“So it doesn’t have that safe house type of function anymore, I don’t think.

“It’s a vestige of something that was there in previous incarnations, if you like.”

Scientists were led to the discovery by examining the appendices of koalas. Unlike the short human variety, the koala is famous for having an extremely long appendix.

This aids in their diet which is almost exclusively made up of eucalyptus leaves.

Professor Vardaxis says that in spite of the fact that the human appendix acts in a similar manner to that of koalas, it is unlikely that we will see a shrinking of the Australian marsupial’s organ any time soon.

“Unless of course we have a massive blight and we get the eucalypt on which the koala thrives dying, then we may find some mutant koalas out there perhaps that will start eating other things, and as they start to eat other things, then over generations and hundreds of thousands of years of time, then surely, yes, the koala’s appendix will shrink as well.”

Professor Vardaxis says that the human shrinkage of the appendix was due to changes in our diet that took place over many thousands of years. Still, it is possible that any species with a larger appendix now, could find themselves in a similar situation if their diet were to significantly change, and their appendix began to shrink. Koalas, Vardaxis explained, might be afflicted by appendicitis and have to have it taken out at times, just like humans.



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