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Lab Reports
December 5, 2007

A Use for the Appendix?

JAMA. 2007;298(21):2474. doi:10.1001/jama.298.21.2474-c

Contrary to longstanding assumptions, the human appendix may have a useful role in human health, according to scientists at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, NC. They suggest it may be a “safe house” for commensal bacteria, providing support for their growth and facilitating reinoculation of the colon when the intestinal tract’s contents are purged following exposure to a pathogen (Bollinger RR et al. J Theor Biol. doi: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2007.08.032 [published online ahead of print September 7, 2007]).