Scientific discoveries of new planets, new species and even new life forms can appear from time to time in academic journals, but now a research paper out of Ireland has proven that the latest scientific discovery is in our very own bodies.
Published in the The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology journal, the ‘mesentery’ has been re-categorized as the body’s 79th organ. It was believed to be multiple fragments for the past 100 years, but thanks to the paper’s author, J. Calvin Coffin, we now know the mesentery is one large, continuous organ.
The newly identified organ has already been added to an updated version of the Gray’s Anatomy medical textbook for med students.
Now that we know this new organ exists, the next question is, what does it do? The mesentery is actually a vital organ that secures the intestines to the abdominal wall and keeps everything within the abdomen in place. But to be honest, researchers have yet to understand its entire function.
“Now we have established anatomy and the structure. The next step is the function. If you understand the function you can identify abnormal function, and then you have disease,” explained Coffin. “Put them all together and you have the field of mesenteric science… the basis for a whole new area of science.”
While the mesentery has always been a part of the body’s make up, correctly identifying it means that scientists can now focus their attention on determining determine what role, if any, it plays in the face of abdominal disease.
So if there’s one thing we’re sure of, it’s that the world’s knowledge on this organ is about to grow.