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The appendix is a small, finger or worm-like tube in the lower part of the abdomen. It is connected to the lower part of the ascending colon, or cecum. It is commonly believed that the appendix is a vestige of the past, and currently has no function in the body. However, some people now believe the appendix plays a role in the immune system. Read on to learn more about the appendix, and its apparent lack of function in the body.

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Appendix
The Appendix and other Abdominal Organs

The appendix is about 4 inches (10 cm) long, and is located in the lower, right-side of the abdomen. It is connected to the cecum, near where the small intestine attaches to the large intestine. Occasionally, the appendix may be located in the lower, left-side of the abdomen.

The appendix is sometimes called the vermiform appendix. The term vermiform being latin for worm-shaped.

It is commonly believed that the appendix is a vestige of the past. That it serves no useful function in the human body, today, but served some function in the past. This belief is held because the appendix can be removed with no apparent loss of function in the body.

New studies show that the appendix may play a role in the immune system. In a fetus, the appendix may be rich in infection-fighting lymphoid cells. It may produce hormones and antibodies that protect against bacterial infection. In adults, the appendix may store good bacteria, helpful in the recovery from diarrhea and intestinal illness.

Appendicitis is a severely painful problem where the appendix gets inflamed. If this occurs, the appendix may need to be removed. Otherwise, it may burst, resulting in a potentially life threatening infection in the abdomen.

 

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