A new human organ has been discovered in the digestive system of humans where it has been "hiding in plain sight," said scientists.
The new organ, known as the mesentery, had been thought to be made up from fragmented, separate structures, but researchers now say it is one organ, according to Science Alert.
Evidence for the organ's reclassification has been published in the November issue of The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology.
University of Limerick professor J. Calvin Coffey said The Lancet article provides facts to support the reclassification of the mesentery as an organ. He said a better understanding of the mesentery could lead to less invasive surgeries, fewer complications, faster patient recovery, and lower overall costs.
Science Alert said the mesentery is the lining of the abdominal cavity that attaches the intestine to the wall of our abdomen, and keeps it together. Leonardo da Vinci described the mesentery centuries ago but it was thought to be a type of insignificant attachment.
"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," Coffey said. "When we approach it like every other organ…we can categorize abdominal disease in terms of this organ."
"During the initial research, we noticed in particular that the mesentery, which connects the gut to the body, was one continuous organ. Up to that it was regarded as fragmented, present here, absent elsewhere and a very complex structure. 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."
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