Your guts bugging you? Turns out that’s a good thing. Until recently, the appendix has had a reputation as a shiftless organ with no known modern function, but evolutionary biologists now have a different idea — that it functions as a storage unit for good bacteria. They argue the good bacteria hangs out in the appendix until needed to replace ones flushed out by diarrhea or other nasty gut-bug killers. When the gut gets flushed out, the appendix — which is lined with immune system tissue — releases the good bugs back into the intestine. Today’s improved sanitary conditions leave our immune systems twiddling their thumbs to some extent, so the appendix is not needed as often as in the days when our ancestors were, say, eating raw meat and drinking water from streams. Without enough immunity battles to fight, and perhaps too much exposure to anti-microbial hand washes, the body begins picking battles with allergies and autoimmune disorders. Hence all the recent studies that say eating dirt is good for kids.
Posts Tagged ‘chrone’s disease’
Perhaps you’ve heard of a heart transplant, a lung transplant, and even a uterus transplant, but have you ever heard of not just a bowel transplant (WARNING: STOP READING NOW IF YOU’RE EASILY DISGUSTED), but a feces transplant? Yes, it’s true, people sometimes transplant poo. I learned this from What’s Your Poo Telling You?, a fun-loving and fact-filled book all about bodily excretions. Folks with really bad cases of colitis caused by poor intestinal flora can sometimes benefit from a squirt of someone else’s nicely populated bacterial colony. As the book points out, this last-resort treatment may have a bright future “owing to the short list of willing recipients and the potentially endless supply of donors.”