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Scientists say they have discovered ‘new organ’ in human body

Raghu Kshitiz

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A team of US researchers have discovered a new organ — highway of moving fluid — using updated technology, in human body that might affect major diseases

What was once thought to be dense, connective tissues running all throughout the body has now been found to be a network of fluid-filled compartments that may act as ‘shock absorbers’.

Not only could the finding reshape our understanding of the human body, it could help to explain why cancer is more likely to spread when it invades certain areas, scientists said in the March 27 issue of Scientific Reports.

“This finding has potential to drive dramatic advances in medicine,” said study co-senior author Dr. Neil Theise, a pathology professor at NYU Langone Health in New York City.

“The direct sampling of interstitial fluid may become a powerful diagnostic tool,” Theise added in an NYU news release.

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The new discovery was made using a newer technology called probe-based confocal laser endomicroscopy, which provides a microscopic view of living tissues instead of fixed ones.

This discovery, the researchera said, could also lead to new ways to treat a wide range of health issues, including cancer and age-related conditions.

The newfound network lies below the skin’s surface and between muscles, lining the digestive tract, lungs and urinary systems, and surrounding arteries and veins, the researchers said.

They suspect the fluid-filled spaces may act like shock absorbers that prevent the tearing of tissue in organs, muscles and vessels as they move during normal functioning.

The network drains into the lymphatic system, and may explain why cancer that gets into this “highway” is much more likely to spread through the body, the researchers said.

The cells that reside in this network may also play a role in many other body processes, from skin aging to the stiffening of limbs and the progression of inflammatory diseases, according to the report.

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The U.S. National Institutes of Health funded the study. According to the authors, it’s the first study to recognize the interstitium as an organ in its own right, and one of the largest of the body.

So, how did these fluid-filled spaces go undetected for so long?

Until now, the medical field was dependent on fixed tissue on microscope slides. The tissue is prepared by treating it with chemicals, slicing it thinly and dying it to highlight important features.

With Agency Inputs

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Regular bedtime beneficial for heart and metabolic health among older adults

Raghu Kshitiz

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KATHMANDU — Sufficient sleep has been proven to help keep the body healthy and the mind sharp. But a new study on sleep patterns has suggested that a regular bedtime and wake time are just as important for heart and metabolic health among older adults too.

Researchers at Duke Health and the Duke Clinical Research Institute, in a study of 1,978 older adults, have found that people with irregular sleep patterns weighed more, had higher blood sugar, higher blood pressure, and a higher projected risk of having a heart attack or stroke within 10 years than those who slept and woke at the same times every day.

The study  was published Sept 21 in the journal Scientific Reports.

“From our study, we can’t conclude that sleep irregularity results in health risks, or whether health conditions affect sleep,” said study’s lead author Jessica Lunsford-Avery.

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“Perhaps all of these things are impacting each other.”

African-Americans had the most irregular sleep patterns compared to participants who were white, Chinese-American or Hispanic, the data showed.

Still, the data suggest tracking sleep regularity could help identify people at risk of disease, and where health disparities may impact specific groups.

Irregular sleepers were also more likely to report depression and stress than regular sleepers, both of which are tied to heart health.

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