What You Need To Know About That New Organ In Your Body

Photographed by Refinery29.
Apparently, we're all starting 2017 with a brand-new organ in our bodies, or at least one that was never considered an organ before. According to research published in The Lancet journal, there's a piece of abdominal tissue in your body that's been hiding in plain sight all along — and researchers say it should officially be classified as another organ.

The mesentery, a little-known double-layered sheet of abdominal connective tissue, is found in your digestive system. J. Calvin Coffey, a researcher at the University Hospital Limerick and author of the study, said in a press release that while the mesentery was previously believed to be fragmented parts, the new research has found that it is "one continuous structure." The previous belief that the mesentery was fragmented was likely the reason it was never classified as an organ.

So, what should you know about this new discovery?

For starters, according to Discover magazine, its main function is to serve as a belt, connecting and keeping your intestines in place, making it pretty essential to your digestive system.

Now that we've established the structure and function of this organ, Coffey said, we may have "the basis for a whole new area of science."

And while this is a preliminary finding, researchers say that they have reason to believe that the mesentery plays a big role in your overall gut health, and further research into the organ could provide more information about how to treat gut diseases such as Crohn's disease.

"For doctors, it provides us with an opportunity to refresh our approach to many diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and others," Coffey told CNN. "This could help in identifying the mechanisms underlying these conditions and help us in unraveling their cause and how they develop."

This new discovery just goes to show that there's still a hell of a lot to learn when it comes to what keeps our bodies healthy.
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