APPENDIX: Not a vestigial organ
By: Umar bin Abdul Aziz
Appendix!!! (A tube-shaped sac attached to and opening into the lower end of the large intestine in humans and some other mammals) is considered to be a vestigial organ by most of the authors. Absence of Appendix is already reported in Indian population. Whether it is performing any function is debatable but when present it can create trouble. So if there is no appendix, We can escape the ill effect of the organ.
Unlike what most people believes, our appendix has some very important functions in our body. For years, physician believed our appendix was a vestigial organs just like our wisdom teeth and tail bone. While we still have theses body parts, it seems like they don’t do much in the modern Human Body.
But Here is the Twist, our appendix is much more than just a ticking time bomb in our abdomen. A study examined the evolutionary basis for the appendix in mammals species and the result showed that the appendix evolved at least 30 times among different lineages over the past 11 million years and once the organ appeared, it was never lost. That is one stubborn organ. “So why did the appendix keep reappearing in humans across millions of years. What exactly is it good for.”
- Before anyone decide to remove the Appendixwithout a good reason,
- Before anyone count the Appendix as a vestigial organ,
- Before anyone ignore the importance of Appendix,
Have a look at the following top most important functions of this organ:
- Fight against Infection:
Our Appendix is a storehouse for beneficial bacteria. These good bacteria helps the gut recover from infections and protect the intestines from further infection buy harmful bacteria.
Researchers show that people whose Appendix has been removed are 4 times more likely to have a reoccurrence of bacterial infection that caused Diarrhea, Fever, Nausea and Abdominal pain.
- Fetal Development:
The Appendix is believed to help in fetus development. The development of appendix begins during the 5thfetal week and show’s very rapid development early in life. It is at its longest in size in childhood and diminishes in size throughout adulthood.Specific cells, called endocrine cells appear in the appendix of the human fetus at the 11th week of development. The special cells in the fetal appendix produce important neurotransmitters and hormones, which help in various biological control mechanisms and metabolic processes that are needed for moral development.
- Strengthening of Immunity:
In our body, Appendix helps in strengthening and supporting the immune system. Our appendix has a high concentration of immune cells within its wall’s and functions ad lymphoid organ. Lymphoid organ helps in the maturation of Immune cells called Lymphocytes. Our appendix helps us in the maturation of specific lymphocytes called B cells. These B cells are responsible for producing antibodies that attack the invading bacteria, virus and toxins that are harmful to our body.
- Antibody formation:
Our appendix is also involved in the production of certain molecules that help direct the movement of lymphocytes to various other locations in the body. A type of antibody called Ig A is produced in the appendix. This antibody plays an important role in mucosal immunity.
- Surgical Procedures:
The Appendix can be used in various repair procedures for parts of Gastrointestinal system. The Appendix can be used to replace sphincter muscles and diseased uterus which allows urine to flow from the kidneys to the bladder. The flexibility of the appendix is remarkable and it is one of the few organs that can shift it’s function. That is why the organ, which was once considered vestigial is now a backup for various reconstructive surgical techniques.
So, let’s conclude my writing here with these words, “Appendix can’t be called a Vestigial organ unless the functional inactivity is proved. Lymphoid changes which occur after birth to provide the gut Immunity is needed to be proved more by further studies. There might be incidental absence or rudimentary appendix in human body, but that doesn’t indicate that we would not have any appendix in future.”
Let’s remove the tag of Vestigial from this loving and so useful Organ. We should raise its value and it is importance. It should not be come in our mind when we listen or taught “Vestigial organs of the body.”
(Writer is a student of BSc Nursing 4th year in Rajiv Gandhi College of Nursing Jammu. He can be reached at [email protected])