Appendix isn’t just another ‘add-on’ organ
Scientists finally have confirmed something I suspected all along: that the human appendix is not just a useless wormlike organ affixed to the large intestine, something like sports agents or political consultants.
Doctors and scientists at the Duke University Medical School recently disclosed in a scientific journal that the appendix is a "bacteria factory" that cultivates "good germs" that help in digestion. This comes as good news to those of us who have managed to hang on to our appendixes and bad news for the millions of people who had theirs cut out and tossed away like chicken gizzards.
Doctors thought for generations that the appendix was just a pointless piece of protein tucked away in one of the more gross parts of the human body, a supplementary sac just along for the ride. Who could blame them? After all, the organ was called an "appendix," as if it were something just added on to the human body for no reason; a tacky accessory, like fuzzy dice hanging from a BMW's rearview mirror. If the organ had any use, wouldn't it have been called something like an "essentialix" or a "significantix"?
Not to mention, all the appendix seemed to do was suddenly get infected and make people abruptly double over in pain and lurch into bowls of potato salad at picnics.
The best medical minds figured the appendix was a survivor of some former digestive process, needed to help cavemen digest rocks and stuff.
But I always thought the appendix must be there for a reason, mainly because there doesn't seem to be much superfluous equipment on the human body. When God designed the body, or fine-tuned it through evolution, he did a pretty good job, positioning body parts in functional ways (head on top, feet on bottom) and throwing in a few backup organs like an extra eyeball, kidney and nostril. He made the essential body parts not only hearty, but sometimes quite entertaining. One of the few complaints I have is that he didn't include a backup liver, but that's just personal preference. Everything on board as standard equipment serves a purpose, which made me think he wouldn't include an appendix just for yuks.
The Duke docs point out that in the same way the Land of Oz has "good witches" and "bad witches," the human body has good germs and bad germs. The appendix acts as a "safe house" for good bacteria ready to charge into the gut to counterbalance the Wicked Bacteria of the West and make sure that your Jack in the Box Meaty Breakfast Burrito goes down the hatch properly.
It just goes to show you that despite the amount of abuse we put it through, the human body is an amazing thing. With proper care and feeding it is good for an average of 70 years or 4 million miles (whichever comes first), and, although there is no warranty, there are lots of spare parts on the market at reasonable prices.
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