Well, 2017 is already full of surprises!
Congratulations, you’re officially starting the year with a brand new organ… at least one that doctors and scientists never considered an organ before now.
According to research published in The Lancet journal, this key piece of abdominal tissue has been hiding in plain sight. The mesentery, a doubled-layer of connective tissue, is found in your digestive system. Professor J. Calvin Coffey, a researcher at the University Hospital Limerick and lead researcher of the study said in a press release that while the mesentery was previously believed to be fragmented parts, the new research has found that it is “one continuous structure.”
READ MORE: 7 Types Of Stomach Pains And What They Mean
So, what does this mean for you really? Well, its main purpose is that it actually connects and keeps your intestines in place so things don’t jiggle around. And while this is still preliminary research, scientists believe that the mesentery might play a larger role in your overall gut health. Further research into the newly classified organ could provide more information about how to treat gut diseases such as Crohn’s disease.
“For doctors, it provides us with an opportunity to refresh our approach to many diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and others,” Coffey told CNN. “This could help in identifying the mechanisms underlying these conditions and help us in unraveling their cause and how they develop.”
And just when we thought there was nothing left to discover… it goes to show that there’s still a lot to learn about the human body.
Looking for information on gut health? Here’s how to settle your stomach when your gut is out of whack.