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.
With Agency Inputs
Suicide can’t be predicted by asking about suicidal thoughts : Study
Most people who died of suicide deny they experience suicidal thoughts when asked by doctors in the weeks and months leading up to their death, a major Australian study has found.
The findings, co-authored by clinical psychiatrist and Professor Matthew Large from UNSW’s School of Psychiatry, Sydney that published in the journal BJPsych Open The meta-analysis challenge the widely-held assumption that psychiatrists can predict who will suicide by asking if they are preoccupied with thoughts of killing themselves.
The study showed that 80% of patients who were not undergoing psychiatric treatment and who died of suicide reported not to have suicidal thoughts when asked by their psychiatrist or GP.
“If you meet someone who has suicidal ideation there is a 98 per cent chance that they are not going to suicide,” said Professor Large, an international expert on suicide risk assessment who also works in the emergency department of a major Sydney hospital.
“But what we didn’t know was how frequently people who go on to suicide have denied having suicidal thoughts when asked directly,” he added.
“This study proves we can no longer ration psychiatric care based on the presence of suicidal thoughts alone. We need to provide high-quality, patient-centred care for everyone experiencing mental illness, whether or not they reveal they are experiencing suicidal thoughts,” Professor Large said.
About one in 10 people will have suicidal ideation in their lifetime. But the study showed suicidal ideation alone was not rational grounds for deciding who gets treatment and who does not, Professor Large said.
“We know that suicide feeling is pretty common and that suicide is actually a rare event, even among people with severe mental illness,” Professor Large added.
Suicidal ideation tells us an awful lot about how a person is feeling, their psychological distress, sometimes their diagnosis and their need for treatment but it’s not a meaningful test of future behaviour.
Suicidal feelings can fluctuate rapidly and people may suicide very impulsively after only a short period of suicidal thoughts.
But, people had good reasons not to disclose thoughts of suicide, fearing stigma, triggering over-reactions or upsetting family and friends, and being involuntarily admitted for psychiatric treatment, Professor Large said.
Professor Large emphasized that clinicians should not assume that patients experiencing mental distress without reporting suicidal ideas were not at elevated risk of suicide.