If you thought there was nothing new that could be found in the human body, you’d be dead wrong. It turns out that a new human organ may have been discovered. Or, to put that in the correct context, you would be dead right. What could happen, however, is that the medical fraternity, or some people in it, could decide that parts of the body previously unlabelled as organs, might be better off being named as organs after all. So, a new organ will very likely never be found, but different names may be applied to parts that already exist.
But hang on, how could the medical books suddenly be rewritten, after all these years? And, is it a good idea, or just a bunch of researchers hoping to justify their budget by claiming some rather silly things?
The parts of the body that have been brought into question are referred to as the interstitial tissue and interstitial fluid. And what is this? Simply pockets of fluid filled spaces in the body that we all have. Upon first glance a person would be hard-pressed to see the similarity between these seemingly useless spaces in the body, and something essential, such as the heart.
But this didn’t stop Dr. Neil Theise, a professor of pathology at NYU Langone Health, and one of the major driving forces in the study. According to Doctor Theise, he did some serious thinking about these pockets of fluid, and came to some interesting conclusions. Organs are identified, he concluded, by having a unitary structure, and unitary function.
Putting the pieces together, he realised that all the pockets that are fluid are the same, and hence should be re-categorised as organs, separately.
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The Biggest Organs
Should the world decide to agree with Dr. Theise, and millions of medical textbooks be rewritten, it would have to be concluded that the fluid filled pockets were the biggest organ in the human body. Previously, skin held the top position, making up about 16% total of the human body as a whole.
But, it turns out; Dr. Theise’s fluid filled sacks make up around 20%. That’s 4% more, and would knock skin off its pedestal by a significant margin. But does Dr. Theise have anything else to go on, to make such a bold claim?
Dr. Theise observed interesting behaviour in the fluid filled pockets. This functionality is known to the medical world, but it’s the way in which Dr. Theise categorises the functionality that he claims is unique. In his interpretation, the fluid filled pockets, although present in a number of organs, should be rebranded as being an organ all of their own.
But Dr. Nathanson of Yale School of Medicine had a response. In his words, rebranding the fluid pockets would be like discovering blood cells that are present in all organs, but are not called organs individually, and claiming they should now be called separate organs.
Experts Not Convinced
The observations of Dr. Theise were not widely agreed upon by the medical community at large either. For the most part, his suggestion to rebrand parts of the human body as separate organs was shrugged off, with most claiming that it would simply be a semantic bit of fiddling about with words, where it isn’t at all necessary.
So, it seems that the human body will not be getting a rebranding any time soon, despite the insistence from Dr. Theise that he’s on to something important. Medical students around the world will be breathing a sigh of relief though, as textbooks are expensive, and the addition of a whole new organ may change the syllabus somewhat!