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US Researchers discover the function of human appendix

Researchers from Midwestern University have identified the function of the human appendix, often viewed as a vestigial organ with little-known use.

They discovered that the human appendix has evolved at least 30 times and even possibly up to a maximum of 41 times throughout the mammalian evolution.

Key Facts
  • According researchers, once the appendix appears in human body, it never disappears, suggesting that the organ likely serves an adaptive purpose.
  • This may be due to evolutionary reason of the human body that never got rid of the appendix as it doesn’t harm most people, there’s simply little evolutionary pressure to eliminate the body part.
  • It was found that species with appendix have higher concentrations of immune (lymphoid) tissue in cecum (part of the large intestines), thereby suggesting that appendix could serve as a secondary immune organ.
  • The appendix might also function as a “safe house” for helpful gut bacteria as lymphatic tissue can stimulate the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Thus, fulfilling an important role in our bodies.

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Scientists discover mesentery, a new human organ in digestive system

Scientists from Ireland have claimed discovery of a new human organ named the mesentery that exists in the digestive system. It will be human body’s 79th organ.

Mesentery connects the intestine to the abdomen.  The organ was previously thought to consist of fragmented and disparate structures.

Key Facts
  • Mesentery is a fold of the peritoneum which attaches the stomach, small intestine, pancreas, spleen,and other organs to the posterior wall of the abdomen.
  • Its discovery will help in better understanding and further scientific study of the mesentery which could lead to less invasive surgeries, fewer complications, faster patient recovery and lower overall costs.
  • The reclassification of this organ will also aid better understanding and treatment of abdominal and digestive diseases.
  • During the initial research, researchers found that the mesentery was one continuous organ. Previously, it was considered as the fragmented structure made up of multiple separate parts.
  • It was found that mesentery has simply one continuous structure. However, its function is still poorly understood.
  • Following the discovery the world’s best-known series of medical textbooks, Gray’s Anatomy was updated to include the new definition of this organ.

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Scientists develops first Biological Pacemaker using Human Stem Cells 

Scientists from Canada have developed the first functional pacemaker cells using human pluripotent stem cells. 

The cells can regulate heart beats with electrical impulses. It paves the way for alternate biological pacemaker therapy.

Key Facts 
  • Pluripotent stem cells have the potential to differentiate into more than 200 different cell types that make up every tissue and organ in the body.
  • These cells can be coaxed in 21 days to develop into pacemaker cells. For this purpose researchers had used developmental-biology approach to establish a specific protocol for generating pacemaker cells.
  • These human pacemaker cells were tested in rat hearts and have shown to function as a biological pacemaker, by activating the electrical impulses that trigger the contraction of the heart.
Significance of this research
  • Learning how to generate pacemaker cells could help in understanding disorders in pacemaker cells, and provide a cell source for developing a biological pacemaker.
  • Biological pacemakers offers promising alternative to electronic pacemakers and overcome their drawbacks as a lack of hormonal responsiveness and t inability to adapt to changes in heart size in pediatric patients.
Comment

In general Sinoatrial node pacemaker cells are the primary pacemaker of the heart that controls the heartbeat throughout life. Defects in these pacemaker cells can lead to heart rhythm disorders that are commonly treated by implantation of electronic pacemaker devices. A pacemaker is a device which is placed in the chest or abdomen to help control abnormal heartbeats using low-energy electrical impulses.

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