Scientists have discovered a new organ in the digestive tract of the human body. Centuries after the human physiology was established, the discovery of new organ in humans has sent the researchers and scientists in a frenzy.
The new organ mesentery was previously believed to be a fragmented and disparate structure in the digestive system. Mesentery was considered just a fold of membrane that connected the intestine and the abdomen.
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Irish researchers have now confirmed that Mesentery is a continuous organ. J Calvin Coffey, a researcher from the University Hospital Limerick, said the following in a release.
“In the paper, which has been peer reviewed and assessed, we are now saying we have an organ in the body which hasn’t been acknowledged as such to date.”
Scientifically, a human organ is a self-contained body part that performs vital functions. With the addition of the new found organ, mesentery, there are now 79 human organs including the five vital organs, the brain, heart, liver, kidneys, and lungs.
Which Is The New Organ?
This discovery of the new organ in humans proves that 100 years of anatomy was incorrect and mesentery is a continuous structure. Physiologically, mesentery is a double fold of peritoneum which keeps our intestines attached to the abdomen wall. The peritoneum is the lining of the abdominal cavity.
Mesentery was first described as an organ by the Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo Da Vinci and was known as “The Da Vinci Mesentery.” It was continuous and appeared to be converged centrally. At that time medical practitioners believed that it was a discontinuous structure and hence medically less significant. With the new confirmation by researchers, the mesentery will now be investigated as an organ.
Coffey and his colleagues first used microscopic analyses to prove that the membrane was a continuous structure. They continued gathering evidence that could prove mesentery as a new organ and finally published their research and evidence in a research paper in The Lancet medical journal.
Can The New Organ Help Cure Diseases?
By establishing that mesentery is an organ in the human body, a co-relation between mesenteric abnormalities and diseases can be studied. The mesentery is known to maintain the homeostasis, but it could also be a route for the spread of diseases.
A range of human diseases can be prevented if a more focused approach is taken towards finding the role of mesentery in causing diseases. There are several mesentery related disease that may benefit from this discovery. Malrotation of mesentery is a most common cause of death due to an abdominal crisis in the first year of life.
— Dominic John Galeon (@domgaleon) January 3, 2017
Mesenteric gaps can lead to intestinal herniation. It is mostly seen in postoperative patients and increases the risk of intestinal herniation. Another major disease occurring in humans due to mesentery is vascular mesenteropathy. It results in thrombosis of the superior mesenteric vein and occlusion of the superior mesenteric artery. Both these conditions can be fatal as it leads to rapid necrosis (death of cells) of the small intestine.
Since the new human organ has been found, a more detailed study of the mesentery will follow. This will enable the researchers to study mesentery from a whole new perspective. As reported in The Independent, Coffey said the following.
“When we approach it like every other organ, we can categorize abdominal disease in terms of this organ.”
The researcher will now study the function of this new organ in humans, which in turn will help in understanding the disease caused by it. It is worth noting that Grey’s Anatomy, one of the world’s best known medical textbook, has updated the entry for mesentery as an ‘Organ.’ Following its reclassification, medical students will be taught that mesentery is an organ.
For patients, the discovery will bring a lot of relief. With the advent of studies in the field of mesenteric science, there would be fewer post-operative complications, lesser invasive surgeries, faster recoveries and all with lower costs.
It is still not clear in which body system will mesentery be classified. It could be a part of intestinal, immunological, endocrine or cardiovascular systems.
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