Appendix may not be a vestigial organ after all

  1. http://optonline.net/News/AP/Article?articleId=333992

    Some scientists think they have figured out the real job of the troublesome and seemingly useless appendix: It produces and protects good germs for your gut. That's the theory from surgeons and immunologists at Duke University Medical School, published online in a scientific journal this week.
    For generations the appendix has been dismissed as superfluous. Doctors figured it had no function, surgeons removed them routinely, and people live fine without them.
    And when infected the appendix can turn deadly. It gets inflamed quickly and some people die if it isn't removed in time. Two years ago, 321,000 Americans were hospitalized with appendicitis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    The function of the appendix seems related to the massive amount of bacteria populating the human digestive system, according to the study in the Journal of Theoretical Biology. There are more bacteria than human cells in the typical body. Most of it is good and helps digest food...
    Always had trouble believing that the appendix only served a purpose for our ancestors on the evolutionary ladder.
    Last edit by brian on Oct 9, '07 : Reason: added brief snippet
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   fmrnicumom
    Interesting, thanks!
  4. by   grace90
    Good to know! Thanks!
  5. by   beachmom
    I had a chiropractor tell me this theory about three years ago. It makes sense.
  6. by   RN BSN 2009
    Wondering when a study will be done about those tonsils...
  7. by   diapason05
    Oh, I am sure that the tonsils and appendix are both important. I had chronic probs and my tonsils got removed. My appendix burst when I was 5
  8. by   Multicollinearity
    Quote from iceyspots
    Wondering when a study will be done about those tonsils...
    At least tonsils can grow back, sometimes. Mine did.
  9. by   Lisa CCU RN
    That reminds me, I want my gallbladder back!
  10. by   Nurse Smiley
    loricatus,

    Thanks for this interesting article! I totally agree with the others that this does make a great deal of sense!

    When I was in high school [private school too!] the science teacher used to tell us that the pineal gland had no function! :icon_roll I have no doubt that current and future scientific researchers will discover an incredible amount more about the human body! Great find!

    Power to All Nurses,
    Nurse Smiley :spin:
  11. by   HM2VikingRN
  12. by   ElvishDNP
    Finally they are finding uses for the appendix....I have long since thought there was some use for it. I don't think any part of us is made by accident or is useless.

    Foreskins serve a purpose. Appendices serve a purpose. What will they think of next?? :uhoh21:
  13. by   Boz19
    This reply is actually for the post about a ruptured appendix and waiting for surgery that is linked to this post (at the bottom of the page). I can't post in the break room, but I felt it was important to post some info here. The original surgeons approach of putting a patient who had an appendix that had ruptured (and symptoms for a week) on antiobiotics and waiting for things to quiet down before operating is actually a common and accepted medical practice. If you just look up on google under ruptured appendix, you will find several references to this form of initial medical therapy.

    Sorry to post this here, I just felt it was important to get this information out.
  14. by   loricatus
    Quote from Boz19
    This reply is actually for the post about a ruptured appendix and waiting for surgery that is linked to this post (at the bottom of the page). I can't post in the break room, but I felt it was important to post some info here. The original surgeons approach of putting a patient who had an appendix that had ruptured (and symptoms for a week) on antiobiotics and waiting for things to quiet down before operating is actually a common and accepted medical practice. If you just look up on google under ruptured appendix, you will find several references to this form of initial medical therapy.

    Sorry to post this here, I just felt it was important to get this information out.

    I'll try to post this on your behalf, where you originally intended it to be.

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