The Appendix Is Useful After All
The appendix has long been considered a vestigial and useless organ, which only reminds us of its presence when it flares up and creates a life-threatning appendicitis. Darwin speculated that it was left behind by evolution when we evolved from plant-eaters into omnivores.
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, discovered that the appendix harbours tons of good bacteria which repopulate the stomach after diarrhea, as well as helps make, train and direct white blood cells. William Parker, immunologist, says many more species have an appendix than previously thought.
Now that scientists are uncovering the normal function of the appendix, Parker notes a critical question to ask is whether anything can be done to prevent appendicitis. He suggests it might be possible to devise ways to incite our immune systems today in much the same manner that they were challenged back in the Stone Age.