Researchers demonstrate the usefulness of the appendix, responsible for a longer life

For a long time, we completely neglected the importance of the appendix, this small growth located at the end of the large intestine. According to new research, it is not the useless organ that is believed to be. The presence of the appendix is, on the contrary, correlated with greater longevity in mammals. It would act as a germ lab that makes the body more resistant to infections.

The appendix helps reduce the risk of death from infection, and therefore live longer

According to a new study published in the Journal of Anatomy, the presence of the appendix is ​​correlated with lengthening longevity. Researchers from Inserm and the National Museum of Natural History analyzed data from 258 mammals with and without appendages. According to them, the presence of the appendix in 39 of the species studied allows the development of a selective “bacterial sanctuary” which promotes the rapid recolonization of bacterial species essential to the host. Thanks to this function, it is responsible for reducing mortality from infectious diarrhea. The researchers therefore concluded that mammals that have an appendix have a longer life expectancy, thanks to this small organ. The team of scientists, led by Inserm researcher Eric Ogier-Denis and his colleague Michel Laurin, from the National Museum of Natural History, carried out “the first demonstration of the existence of a correlation between the presence of the appendix and a feature of the life history of mammals ”, point out the authors.

In humans, the appendix may have already accomplished its mission, even though it has been removed

Even in cases where the appendix has been removed due to appendicitis, it is possible that the body is still protected, by the education of the immune system already carried out by the appendix. According to the researchers, having the appendix removed does not affect the lifespan, as it would have already accomplished its mission at a young age, allowing the body to fight more effectively against any subsequent infection. Bacterial colonization is indeed formed from an early age. It is also for this reason that other research shows that the diet of young children can alter their lifelong microbiota, and therefore the quality of their immune system. The study therefore does not call into question the value of appendectomy. The researchers specify that their conclusions bring “no argument suggesting to modify this therapeutic attitude”. “Only appendectomy performed without appendicitis could have deleterious consequences in the context of inflammatory and infectious intestinal pathologies”, precise Eric Ogier-Denis.

The appendix, a mystery still unresolved

Thanks to the conclusions of researchers from Inserm and the National Museum of Natural History, we now know that this “small anatomical structure of a few centimeters, located in the abdomen and attached to the colon”, the function of which is not yet clear. defined, could contribute to an increase in the lifespan of mammals Further research in the coming months will aim to confirm the link between appendix and longevity with field studies on different species of mammals.

Long live the appendix!

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