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The Interstitium Is Important, But Don't Call It An Organ (Yet)

Some organs, maybe. (Credit: Komsan Loonprom/Shutterstock)

Humans might have a new organ, and the press is all over it—again.

In brief: It’s called the interstitium, or a layer of fluid-filled pockets hemmed in by collagen and it can be found all over our bodies, from skin to muscles to our digestive system. The interstitium likely acts as a kind of shock absorber for the rest of our interior bits and bobs and the workings of the fluid itself could help explain everything from tumor growth to how cells move within our bodies. The authors stop short of saying “new organ,” but the word is certainly on everyone’s lips.

Is it just me, or are you feeling a bit of deja vu?

Well, maybe it’s just me, but that’s because I’ve been in this situation before. You see, just over a year ago, researchers announced that they’d discovered a different “new” organ — the mesentery. That particular collection of bodily tissue is a fan-shaped fold that helps hold our guts in place. It had been known about for centuries, but only recently discovered to be large and important enough to justify calling it an organ. It was to be the body’s 79th, but that number is entirely arbitrary.

As we discovered here at Discover, the definition of an organ is hardly settled (and we’re aware of what a church organ is, thankyouverymuch). As became apparent during the whole mesentery craze, there’s no real definition for what an organ actually is. And the human body doesn’t have 79 organs, or 80 organs, or 1,000 organs, because that number can change drastically depending on the definition. And you can bet scientists debate what an organ actually is.

“It’s a silly number,” said Paul Neumann, a professor of medicine at Dalhousie University in Canada and member of the Federative International Programme for Anatomical Terminology, in a Discover article from last year. “If a bone is an organ, there’s 206 organs right there. No two anatomists will agree on a list of organs in the body”

Calling the interstitium a new organ, then, is a bit of a stretch. It’s there, it’s certainly important, but we need a better idea of what an organ is before we can start labeling things as such.

There is a definition of sorts, but it’s got more wiggle room than your large intestine. An organ is composed of two or more tissues, is self-contained and performs a specific function, according to most definitions you get by Googling “what is an organ?” But there’s no governing body that explicitly determines what an organ is, and there’s no official definition. Things like skin, nipples, eyeballs, mesenteries and more have crossed into organ-dom and back throughout history as anatomists debated the definition.

It may seem like mere semantics, but nailing a definition for an organ could actually turn out to be quite important. As we wrote last year, medical data is increasingly being stored in the cloud and analyzed by artificial intelligence algorithms that help researchers make new discoveries or diagnose maladies. The artificial intelligence-assisted algorithms that pore through all that data need things to be defined both clearly and consistently if they’re going to do their job correctly—an organ in one place should be an organ in another. Inconsistencies are going to throw a wrench into search results.

This doesn’t change the fact that most every part of our body is important, though. Regardless of whether we call the liver an organ or not, we still need it to function. Ditto for the mesentery and the latest assemblage of cells to bear the dubious honorific.

An illustration of the interstitium, which may or may not be an organ. (Credit: Jill Gregory/Mount Sinai Health System)

An illustration of the interstitium, which may or may not be an organ. (Credit: Jill Gregory/Mount Sinai Health System)

The interstitium could actually turn out to be quite important. Researchers hadn’t noticed it before because the way they obtained tissue samples seems to have destroyed a crucial portion of the tissue. The fluid-filled pockets would leak and collapse when removed and preserved, obscuring all evidence of an interstitium. But using a new technique involving an endoscopic camera, lasers and fluorescent dye, two researchers found an odd pattern in the bile ducts of patients they were examining. When they removed and flash froze the tissue, they found a network of fluid-filled pockets that they had never seen before. And upon further study, the same structures showed up throughout the body, they found in research published in Scientific Reports.

In addition to cushioning organs inside our bodies, the fluid sacs could help transport white blood cells, molecules used for signaling and more. The authors even suggest that samples of the fluid could be used to diagnose diseases. Finding something entirely new in the human body is a little bit amazing, especially in an age where we assume we know ourselves completely, and it could help to clear up some as-yet-unresolved questions in medicine.

Whether you call the interstitium an organ, or refuse to bestow that definition on this hunk of tissue, you aren’t wrong. Gray’s Anatomy, a medical Bible if there ever was one, did after all recognize the mesentery as an organ last year. And really, that’s fine. It won’t change how we study the interstitium, it won’t much change how we talk about it, and it certainly won’t cause it to function any differently.

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Health

Yet Another Study Says Vitamin Supplements Are Worthless

(Credit: Thunderstock/Shutterstock)

Vitamin — the first four letters come from the Latin word for “life.” To sustain that, we need these organic compounds in small amounts, but it seems their purpose ends there.

New research reaffirms the counterintuitive notion that vitamin and mineral supplements aren’t the magical panacea we’ve been led to believe. It’s something that researchers have been finding for years, and a meta-analysis, summarizing the findings of 179 individual studies, published on Monday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that most common vitamins provide precisely zero benefit to those taking them.

Non-vital Vitamins

Specifically, the study concluded that multivitamins, as well as calcium, and vitamins C and D are essentially powerless. They do no harm, but they might as well be placebos. These findings run contrary to popular wisdom, which instructs us to load up on supplements to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and premature death.

This isn’t the first time science has refuted vitamin worship. In 2013 a series of studies in the Annals of Internal Medicine, collectively including hundreds of thousands of participants, concurred that vitamins do not lead to any boost in health. In fact, the studies found that beta-carotene, vitamin E and possibly high doses of vitamin A actually slightly increase mortality.

The only supplement that may live up to its reputation, according to the new study, is folic acid. This, with or without vitamin B, may prevent cardiovascular disease and stroke.

The tradition of using vitamins and minerals for nutrient deficiencies dates back to 1747, when the British naval surgeon James Lind treated scurvy with citrus fruit, rich in vitamin C. Physicians routinely make such prescriptions, though usually only in cases where the patient has a demonstrated deficiency of a particular vitamin or nutrient.

Supplement Crazy

In recent years, though, we’ve come to view supplements as the gateway to general health and longevity. A Gallup poll in 2013 showed that 50 percent of Americans regularly take vitamins or multivitamins.

On the flip side, a comparison of Gallup polls in 1975 and 2016 reveals plunging public trust in the mainstream American medical system. This phenomenon may have contributed to the ascent of “natural” vitamin and mineral supplements.

But it probably also stems from rampant marketing and advertising. Thanks to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, manufacturers don’t have to prove the to the Food and Drug Administration that their supplements work. They can claim their products work, though, as long as they keep it vague (“strengthens the body”) and don’t profess to truly treat anything.

Call it a healthcare failure, call it a marketing miracle. Either way, call a doctor before you pop another vitamin. Odds are they’ll tell you to stick to fruits and veggies.

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KNOW THE CAUSE: Lyme Disease and Fungus

Lyme Disease and Fungus

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Ross Pelton, RPH, PHD, CCN
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Probiotics That Produce Glutathione
The Vitamin You Don’t Need To Swallow
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Morgellons and Dope (Crack)

Even though this person in this video blog needs help with her drug addiction she shares her true story of being infected with morgellons. Everyone has their own way in dealing with this horrible disease. If you google Morgellons or resistant scabies mites you will come across forums of people questioning if some narcotic drugs could possibly get rid of these things. It’s not uncommon to hear individuals who gets high and complains about feeling bugs crawling all over them, biting them, etc. In reality in many cases it is true. Because of these narcotic drugs poisoning the system it drives them out of the body. Just as the same as if taking anti-parasitic drugs such as ivermectin.

Morgellons disease is a poorly understood condition characterized by small fibers, particles and bugs emerging from the skin. People with this condition often report feeling as if something is crawling on or stinging/ biting their skin.

In no way do we endorse or suggest in using any illegal substance to deal or attempt to get rid of morgellons or resistant scabies mites.

 

 

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