Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Appendix: What Is It Good For?

War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it again, y'all
-Edwin Starr, War

Until recently, one could probably say the same about the appendix. But, that's all the appendix wants: respek', yo. Well, now perhaps it can. This New York Times article explains one idea about an evolutionary role for the appendix, specifically, that the appendix serves to 'reboot' the gut if other flora are wiped out by diarrhea or dysentry. But, what if the appendix houses something like C. difficile? (Quick! How does one diagnose C. diff diarrhea? How does one treat it?)

Even if this idea stands the test of time, the appendix faces an uphill battle. Think about its name: the appendix. Something that's added on, tacked on the end, easily removed without affecting the main work (Q! What's the most common etiology of appendicitis?). Poor lil appendix. Even some cancers that start in the appendix don't get no 'respek' til they spread to the liver (Q! Name the cancer and some common symptoms).

Alright, I think I've stretched that out far enough... heh, and in the end, the appendix, what is it good for? Still pretty much nothing. Now, to start a (hopefully) new feature on the blog, here is Check It Out, where I link to something interesting I either found or have been reading about recently.

Check It Out: Radiology Picture of the Day

1. C. difficile stool toxin; PO metronidazole (or vancomycin)
2. Lymphoid hyperplasia
3. Carcinoid Syndrome; Flushing, Diarrhea, R sided heart failure, Bronchospasm.

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