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.
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.
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.
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Regular physical activity may reduce heart attack risk even in highly polluted areas
Regular physical activity may reduce the risk of heart attack, even in areas with moderate-to-high levels of traffic pollution, a study has claimed.
Higher levels of pollution were associated with more heart attacks, however, the risk was lower among those who were physically active, the researchers found in the study published in the Journal of the American Heart.
“While exercise is known to reduce cardiovascular disease risk; pollution can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks, asthma and chronic obstructive lung disease,” said lead author Nadine Kubesch from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.
“Currently there is little data on whether poor air quality cancels out the protective benefits of physical activity in preventing heart attacks,” Kubesch added.
Researchers in Denmark, Germany and Spain evaluated outdoor physical activity levels (sports, cycling, walking and gardening) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2 pollutant generated by traffic) exposure in 51,868 adults, aged 50-65.
Over a 17.7-year period, there were 2,936 first heart attacks and 324 recurrent heart attacks.
Moderate cycling for four or more hours per week cut risk for recurrent heart attack by 31 per cent; and there was a 58 per cent reduction when all four types of physical activity (together totalling four hours per week or more) were combined, regardless of air quality.
Those who participated in sports had a 15 per cent lower rate of initial heart attacks and there was a 9 per cent risk reduction associated with cycling, regardless of air quality, the researchers said.
Compared to participants with low residential NO2 exposure, those in higher risk areas had a 17 per cent increase risk in first heart attack and 39 per cent for recurrent heart attack, the researchers noted.
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