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August 2019 (Vol. 4 Issue 6)

Doctor discovers ‘new’ organ that could be linked to inflammatory bowel disease and diabetes
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

Doctor discovers ‘new’ organ that could be linked to inflammatory bowel disease and diabetes image

The practise of medicine may go back thousands of years—but only last week a doctor has discovered a ‘new’ organ in our digestive system which may be linked to inflammatory bowel disease and diabetes.

The 'new' organ is the mesentery, which connects the intestine to the stomach. Doctors had thought it was made up of separate parts, but Prof J Calvin Coffey, a surgeon at the University of Limerick, has discovered it is one structure.

The mesentery becomes the 79th organ in the body, and the online version of the medical textbook, Gray's Anatomy, has already been revised to include it.

Despite the discovery, Prof Coffey says that nobody really knows what it does, although he says he hopes his discovery could lead to a new area of science and a better understanding of disease.

He suspects the mesentery plays a role in colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes and obesity, but urgent research is needed to find out more.


References

(Source: Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 2016; 1: 238-47)

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