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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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Health

Drinking 3 cups of coffee or tea daily may keep stroke risk at bay

Raghu Kshitiz

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KATHMANDU — There have been several conflicting studies on the health benefits of drinking coffee and tea and their various varieties. But drinking up to three cups of coffee or tea in a day is safe because it reduces irregular heartbeat and stroke risk, according to a new study published in the journal JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology.

Coffee has previously been believed to worsen abnormal heart rhythms, as doctors generally discourage patients suffering from the condition. However, the results of this particular study say that a daily consumption of upto 300 mg of caffeine may be safe for arrhythmic patients.

This is because the caffeine acts as a stimulant to the central nervous system and blocks the effect of adenosine. Adenosine is a chemical which causes Atrial Fibrillation (AFib).

A single cup of coffee contains about 95 mg of caffeine. It acts as a stimulant to the central nervous system and works to block the effects of adenosine — a chemical that causes AFib.

AFib is the most common heart rhythm disorder, causes the heart to beat rapidly and skip beats, and if left untreated, can cause strokes.

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“There is a public perception, often based on anecdotal experience, that caffeine is a common acute trigger for heart rhythm problems,” said lead author Peter Kistler, Director at Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital.

But, “caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea have long-term anti-arrhythmic properties mediated by antioxidant effects and antagonism of adenosine,” he added.

A meta-analysis of 228,465 participants showed that AFib frequency decreasing by 6 per cent in regular coffee drinkers, and an analysis of 115,993 patients showed a 13 per cent reduced risk.

Another study of 103 post-heart attack patients who received an average of 353 mg of caffeine a day showed improvement in heart rate and no significant arrhythmias — or abnormal heart rhythms, that cause the heart to beat too fast, slow or unevenly.

However, in two studies, where patients drank at least 10 cups and nine cups of coffee per day, showed an increased risk for ventricular arrhythmias (VAs) – a condition in which the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles) beat very quickly.

On the other hand, patients with pre-existing heart conditions who consumed two or more energy drinks — that contains concentrated caffeine — per day reported palpitations within 24 hours.

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