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Appendix might not be "useless"

Posted Aug 25 2008 3:27pm
Next time your doctor suggests you get rid of "useless" body parts (e.g., tonsils,; not so long ago they recommended women get rid of the old' uterus when it wasn't needeed anymore because it might become cancerous some day...even thought penile and testicular cancer exists as well), you might want to reconsider.

If you read my Natural Health article, you'll see that unless you eat unpasteurized, artisanally fermented foods, as people of old used to do daily, you probably aren't getting too much beneficial bacteria, which is essential for health. It turns out the appendix might have evolved as a storage pouch for these pro-biotics:

(NewsTarget) Theorists may have unlocked the purpose for the appendix, the organ in the gut at the juncture of the large and small intestine, long thought useless. The theory calls upon observations and experiments done at Duke University Medical Center.

While not definitive, it seems that the purpose for the vestigial organ could be to repopulate the gut with beneficial bacteria after a catastrophic die-off . If the body has an exceptionally bad bout of food poisoning, diarrhea, cholera or otherwise purges the contents of the lower gut, the beneficial flora are eliminated as well.

The position of the appendix is such that it avoids the purge. The beneficial bacteria within the appendix can repopulate the gut prior to bad bacteria gaining a foothold. Some have compared it to "rebooting" the gut, which is a major part of all good holistic colon cleanse programs.

Surgeons are quick to point out that in a "modern industrial society" the purpose of the appendix is marginalized by advances in modern medicine. According to the CDC 300 to 400 Americans die from appendicitis each year out of the approximately 320,000 who are diagnosed with it. It is for this reason that the CDC and surgeons recommend having the appendix removed in the event of inflammation.

Professor Douglas Theobald of Brandies University says that the idea “seems by far the most likely” explanation, and it “makes evolutionary sense.”

This news could cause a less cavalier approach to the removal of other “useless” body parts . Professor Gary Huffnagle of the University of Michigan says, “ I'll bet eventually we'll find the same sort of thing with the tonsils .”
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