Health

New digestive organ discovered

The mesentery, known for over a 100 years as a fragmented structure consisting of separate parts, has been classified as the body's 79th organ.

It is a double fold of connective tissue arising from the peritoneum - the membrane lining the abdominal cavity - that connects the stomach, small intestine, pancreas, spleen and other organs to the posterior abdominal wall.

Evidence of the mesentery as an organ was found by Dr J. Calvin Coffey, a professor of surgery at the University of Limerick in Ireland.

In his findings outlined in The Lancet Gstroenterology & Hepatology in November, Dr Coffey argued that "mesenteric science" should be its own specialised field of medical study.

The mesentery's exact function is still unknown - it is the next step for scientists to study now that the organ's structure and anatomy is defined.With a new anatomic model, many diseases can be reinterpreted, said Dr Coffey.

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