For generations the appendix was thought to have no purpose. But now, researchers say they have discovered the true function of this body, and is anything but redundant thing.
Researchers now say that the appendix acts as a good safe house for bacteria. The body uses this to essentially “restart” the digestive system when one is suffering from an attack of dysentery or cholera.
Conventional wisdom used to say that this small pouch protruding from the first part of the large intestine was simply redundant or an evolutionary shadow of an organ once useful. For years, doctors advised people have their appendix removed and, despite its use now-apparent, most seem none the worse for it removed.
Duke University Medical Centre in North Carolina researchers say that after a severe attack of cholera or dysentery, which can purge the gut bacteria essential for digestion, the appendix acts as a reservoir for good bacteria to emerge.
Despite the findings, Professor Bill Parker says this does not mean that we hold fast to our appendages at all costs.
“It is very important that people understand that if your appendix becomes inflamed, just because it has a function does not mean they should try to contain it,” he said.
“So it’s a kind of fun thing we’ve found, but does not want any harm is caused, we do not want people to say, ‘oh, my appendix has a function,’ so I will not to go to the doctor, I’ll try to stay with him. “
Nicholas Vardaxis, associate professor in the Department of medical Sciences at RMIT University professor, says that the theory presented by the team at Duke University ago much sense.
“As an idea is an attractive proposition, that it might be a good place for these little bacteria are located in a small cul de sac, away from everything else,” weighing in.
“The thing is that if we look at what is going through evolution, higher on the evolutionary scale we are and the animals more omnivorous become, then the smaller and less important the appendix and human they are a good example.
“the normal bacteria flora within Appendix actual and inside our gut, are the same, so they have lost all these specialized bacteria.
“Therefore, no such safe house the function, I do not think.
” It is a vestige of something that was there in previous incarnations, if desired. ”
scientists were led to the discovery by examining the appendices of koalas. Unlike human short range, the koala is famous for having an extremely long appendix.
This helps in your diet that consists almost exclusively of eucalyptus leaves.
Professor Vardaxis says that, despite the fact that the human appendix acts in a manner similar to that of the koalas way, it is unlikely we will see a reducing the organ of the Australian marsupial in the short term.
“unless, of course, we have a massive plague and get the eucalyptus where the koala thrives die, then we can find some mutant koalas out there such once you will start eating other things, and when they start to eat other things, then more generations and hundreds of thousands of years of time, then surely, yes, Appendix koala will be reduced as well. “
Professor Vardaxis says that the contraction of the human 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 be found in a similar situation if your diet were to change significantly, and its appendix began to decline. Koalas, Vardaxis explained, could be affected by appendicitis and have to have it out sometimes, like humans.