Updated on 4 January 2017
Scientists in Ireland have recently classified a brand new organ inside human body that has been hiding in plain sight in our digestive system, proving 100 years of anatomy as incorrect.
The mesentery, which connects intestine to the abdomen had for hundreds years been considered a fragmented structure made up of multiple separate parts.
New research by J Calvin Coffey, Professor of Surgery at University of Limerick in Ireland describes the mesentery as one, continuous structure.
He said, "In the paper, which has been peer reviewed and assessed, we are now saying we have an organ in the body which has not been acknowledged as such to date. When we approach it like every other organ, we can categorise abdominal disease in terms of this organ. Mesenteric science is its own specific field of medical study in the same way as gastroenterology, neurology and coloproctology"
In a review published in the journal The Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Coffey outlined the evidence for categorising the mesentery as an organ.
He also added, "This is relevant universally as it affects all of us. Up to now there was no such field as mesenteric science. Now we have established anatomy and the structure. The next step is the function. If you understand the function you can identify abnormal function, and then you have disease. Put them all together and you have the field of mesenteric science. The basis for a whole new area of science.