8 Weird Body Parts And Their Surprising Purposes
The appendix, a 3 1/2-inch-long tube extending from the large intestine, seems to be more of a pest than have a purpose. When inflamed (such as from injury or infection) it can eventually burst and fatally spill infectious materials into the rest of the body. The inflammation, called appendicitis, is most common in children; it affects 80,000 per year in the United States. When the appendix is removed, it causes no noticeable effects on the body. However, recent Duke University Medical School research suggests that the appendix houses good bacteria, information that may be useful in rural areas or less developed countries. In modern industrialized societies, if someone’s good flora dies, it can more easily be replenished from others, researchers say.