A purpose for your appendix
Posted: October 6th, 2007 - 1:29pm by Casey JacobI always wondered what that little guy was for...
Many people have their appendix removed after a horrid bout with appendicitis. And they function just fine without it. So in all my human anatomy classes (one in high school and one here at K-State), I had been told that its function was unknown, and it might even be worthless altogether. (It's that little white thing pictured at the right that sort of looks like a worm.)
But scientists at Duke University Medical School think they've figured it out.
Your gut harbors entire populations of good bacteria that help to digest your food and outnumber bad bacteria. Sometimes these populations can get wiped out by diseases like cholera or amoebic dysentery, which are more common in less developed countries. Iraq, right now, is having a huge problem with cholera because of their poor water supplies.
The appendix, then, is responsible for restoring your population of good bacteria.
Back in the day, when people didn't live so close together, they couldn't get back their populations of gut flora. Nowadays, germs are all over the place, so its not quite as necessary, but still... it has a purpose! And I for one, am happy for it.