Know someone stuck in the ICU this holiday season? We want to send one lucky winner a basket of $100 worth of gutsy goodies of your choice! Just tell us the story of your family member or friend on our Facebook page, why he or she has major guts, and why it sucks to have a hysterectomy for Hanukkah, or a cholycystectomy for Christmas and why they need guts to get better while they are away from family and friends! We'll also throw in some love for the awesome nurses as well. Gastrointestinal gift basket? Heart care package? The choice is yours! Winner will be chosen at random Dec. 20th, U.S. entries only, sorry international people, good luck!
Appendixes should never get this big, but we wanted to make one big enough to cuddle. Here's a sneak peek at the prototype for our new plush appendix, brought to you by popular demand! I guess many of you know people with appendicitis or folks who have had appendectomies. Also, oddly enough, we have had frequent requests for a plushie thyroid, so that little fellow is in the works as well, see below. We should release these sometime in Fall 2011 so stay tuned for these oh-so-soft body parts!
appendix 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.