12

votes

Does the appendix play an important role in human health?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 17, 2012 at 1:10 AM

Since starting a paleo-type diet a year ago, one of the related topics of research that fascinates me the most is the role of the human microbiome in health and disease. I found a couple of links to research being done on the potential role of the appendix in preserving good gut flora and protecting against bacterial illness:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S002251930700416X

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21699818

I'm curious if anyone has more information about this or any personal experiences. I had my perfectly healthy appendix removed during an unrelated abdominal surgery I had at the age of 3 months. Apparently this sort of thing was routine (as in "we don't know what it does, so we'll remove it while we're already in there"). I find the hubris behind this mentality to be astounding, but who knows, maybe I would have been one of the many to eventually have an acute attack of appendicitis.

As someone who has had digestive issues for some time, I have to wonder if the role of the appendix has been quite underestimated (as much as the role of healthy gut flora has been underestimated until recently).

Has anyone come across further research or information on the appendix and human health? Do surgeons still remove them routinely during abdominal surgery?

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on August 17, 2012
at 05:28 PM

it was removed because it was infected. i didn't have digestive problems before then, but i was only 7 years old. the first time i remember complaining of constipation was the age of 9. it was so long ago, but i'd vote for the lack of appendix causing the problem and not vice versa.

Ff5307d657eb7bbcc526dc7cf1ddd7fd

(460)

on August 17, 2012
at 10:28 AM

I agree there are too many variables to really blame the lack of appendix for digestive problems. Was your appendix removed because it was infected? I feel like this could be another confounding factor in research in this area. The research I cited about clostridium difficile infections has this problem - did the lack of appendix cause the problems, or would someone with lifelong digestive problems be more likely to get appendicitis and have had an appendectomy? Thanks for your response!

Ff5307d657eb7bbcc526dc7cf1ddd7fd

(460)

on August 17, 2012
at 02:21 AM

I think this article is based off the same research from Duke University that I cited above. I found a few different write-ups of this same research, but I don't get the impression that it is anywhere near proven or decided - more of a hypothesis at this point. It sure is an attractive one, though. I'd be curious to see more follow-up research.

  • Ff5307d657eb7bbcc526dc7cf1ddd7fd

    asked by

    (460)
  • Views
    3K
  • Last Activity
    1431D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

2 Answers

1
Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

on August 17, 2012
at 03:47 AM

I had mine removed in my childhood, and have had poor digestion all my adult life-- I've wondered if that was the cause, but there are too many variables to be certain. I'm interested in the collective response, tho!

Ff5307d657eb7bbcc526dc7cf1ddd7fd

(460)

on August 17, 2012
at 10:28 AM

I agree there are too many variables to really blame the lack of appendix for digestive problems. Was your appendix removed because it was infected? I feel like this could be another confounding factor in research in this area. The research I cited about clostridium difficile infections has this problem - did the lack of appendix cause the problems, or would someone with lifelong digestive problems be more likely to get appendicitis and have had an appendectomy? Thanks for your response!

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on August 17, 2012
at 05:28 PM

it was removed because it was infected. i didn't have digestive problems before then, but i was only 7 years old. the first time i remember complaining of constipation was the age of 9. it was so long ago, but i'd vote for the lack of appendix causing the problem and not vice versa.

1
Ff5307d657eb7bbcc526dc7cf1ddd7fd

(460)

on August 17, 2012
at 02:21 AM

I think this article is based off the same research from Duke University that I cited above. I found a few different write-ups of this same research, but I don't get the impression that it is anywhere near proven or decided - more of a hypothesis at this point. It sure is an attractive one, though. I'd be curious to see more follow-up research.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!