Hello again, kiddies. It’s Mr. Sciencemoron, back with the latest discovery from the world of “what the hell are you looking there for?”
You’ll be really interested in my subject this time because it’s about you, specifically a new body part you didn’t know you had.
I know, I know: you thought you knew about all your body parts, or at least the important ones. So did biologists. But, every few years, our crack scientists find another body part hanging around somewhere. And I’m not just talking about that mole on my back.
The last new body part was something called “Dua’s Layer” which is a piece of your eye described as a “skinny but tough structure measuring just 15 microns thick.” That means you’d have to stack about 6 Dua’s Layers on top of each other just to get to the thickness of a piece of standard copy paper, and then the Dua’s Layers would really gum up your Xerox machine. Plus you’d have to slice your eye apart in order to find the damn thing. I wrote at the time that I was pretty sure some guy named Dua was making the whole thing up just to have a body part named after him.
But this new body part, which was discovered by Irish researchers, is a full-fledged organ, like your heart, only with a lot fewer songs written about it. It’s called a mesentery, and it’s in your abdomen somewhere.
Evidently, scientists have always known this thing was there, but they had previously thought it was only a series of fragmented parts. Despite having dissected zillions of bodies over the years, no one realized that this particular item was all one piece, kind of like those layered-look tops that only appear to be a sweater on top of a t-shirt.
The discovery was announced by Calvin Coffey at the University of Limerick, which should have a poster in the freshman dorm that says:
But I digress.
Coffey’s findings were published in the November issue of The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology, a top medical journal on the digestive system, and the publication voted by readers as “least likely to have a swimsuit edition.”
Now, kiddies, you may be wondering what makes the mesentery an “organ” as opposed to, say, “a piece of the intestine” or “a doohickey.” Well, an organ is defined as “a self-contained body part that serves a specific vital function.” But here‘s the thing: nobody knows what the mesentery’s function is.
So, basically, the scientists are saying, “Hey, we found something that does something!”
And that’s why science is so exciting.
Apparently, Leonardo da Vinci, the guy who drew that famous diagram of a naked man flapping his arms, knew back in the 1400’s that the mesentery was an organ, but biologists respectfully disagreed with him for over 600 years. In fact, here is the drawing Leonardo made of the mesentery, or perhaps a cauliflower.
Wait! I’ve just received a text from little Madison in Eugene, OR (or perhaps it’s little Eugene in Madison, WI–I have trouble with texting) who wants to know how scientists can be sure the mesentery is an organ with a specific function if they don’t know what the function is. Excellent question, Madison or Eugene from Eugene or Madison!
It’s sort of like when I moved into my first real house five years ago after 57 years of living in apartments and condos. There were all these machines in the basement, and protrusions on the side of the house, and I had no idea what any of them did, and I wasn’t that interested in learning, because I was certain that, as soon as someone told me what their function was they would stop performing that function and I would have to replace them at a cost of $5,000 each because that is what it costs to repair anything in a house.
By that same principle, researchers are afraid that if they determine the function of the mesentery, you’ll suddenly start hearing about conditions like mesentery cancer, and ruptures of the mesentery, and mesentery dysentery. In fact, as soon as they found the aforementioned Dua’s Layer, they began diagnosing rips in the Dua’s Layer, which was almost never diagnosed before they knew about the Dua’s Layer.
Calvin Coffey stated that his discovery “could create a new field of mesenteric science and may help doctors better understand and treat abdominal diseases.” Sure it will. And the next thing you know, your primary care physician will be referring you to a gastroenterologist, who will refer you to a mesentericologist, all of whom will charge co-pays and perform various tests that will somehow never quite reach your deductible.
So, bottom line, boys and girls, is that you should take very good care of your mesentery, along with all your other body parts, including the ones that scientists will discover in the years to come, like the tendext, a specialized tendon in the thumb of young people that has developed as the result of texting. Madison from Eugene and Eugene from Madison probably have one, but Mr. Sciencemoron most decidedly does not.
Mr. Sciencemoron does not text. But he does have to go take some Tums because his mesentery is acting up.
See you soon.