Scientists recently discovered a new organ in the human body, one that was there all along. The Mesentery will become the body's 79th organ. The word itself means “in the middle of the intestines.” It is a double fold of peritoneum, abdominal cavity lining, which attaches our intestines to the abdominal wall.
[Image Source: Mesentery]
Although it is newly classified as an organ, the Mesentery has always been there. Scientists originally thought it to be a fragmented structure which was part of the digestive system. However, they discovered that it's one continuous organ.
J. Calvin Coffey, a professor at the University of Limerick's Graduate Entry Medical School, first discovered the organ. His research has been published in The Lancet medical journal.
Coffey says that the function of the Mesentery is currently unclear, however, the discovery opens up “a whole new area of science.”
"When we approach it like every other organ… we can categorize abdominal disease in terms of this organ."
“We have established anatomy and the structure. The next step is the function,” Coffey said. “If you understand the function you can identify abnormal function, and then you have disease. Put them all together and you have the field of mesenteric science…the basis for a whole new area of science.”
Now that the Mesentery has been classified as an organ, researchers and medical students can begin to investigate its role in the human body. It is also necessary to investigate the role that the Mesentery plays in abdominal disease in order to better understand these diseases and thus begin to find new treatments.
Furthermore, by obtaining a better understanding of the Mesentery, surgeons could be less invasive when performing operations. This could reduce complications, accelerate the recovery period and even reduce costs.
The Mesentery has officially been updated in Gray’s Anatomy, the world’s famous medical textbook. Students are now being taught that the Mesentery is an independent organ.
Written by Terry Berman