18:16 05 January 2017
Researchers have reclassified the mesentery, long believed to be made up of separate structures, as a new organ in the human digestive system.
Using complex microscopy, researchers from the University Hospital Limerick in Ireland showed that the mesentery was one continuous organ that attaches the stomach, pancreas, small intestine, spleen and other organs to the abdomen.
Professor J Calvin Coffey, who first discovered the organ, said: 'In the paper, which has been peer reviewed and assessed, we are now saying we have an organ in the body which hasn't been acknowledged as such to date.
'The anatomic description that had been laid down over 100 years of anatomy was incorrect. This organ is far from fragmented and complex. It is simply one continuous structure.'
'This is relevant universally as it affects all of us. Up to now there was no such field as mesenteric science.
'Now we have established anatomy and the structure. The next step is the function.
'If you understand the function you can identify abnormal function, and then you have disease. Put them all together and you have the field of mesenteric science…the basis for a whole new area of science.'
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