A couple of nights ago, while you were sleeping, your body went ahead and did the unthinkable: it grew a brand new organ!
Well, technically, the organ’s always been there but it’s only now that scientists have discovered it. And they’re calling it – drum roll please – Interstitium.
Sounds more like the title of Chris Nolan’s next film, doesn’t it?
So exactly what is this organ?
Time to put our science caps on and take a peek!
Between our skin and the organs, there exists a microscopic network of spaces that run all across the length and breadth of your body. Initially, scientists thought this space was nothing but a dense wall of collagen. But recently, when they looked again using new imaging techniques, they realised that these spaces are actually filled with fluid. In addition, they also realised that these fluid-filled spaces are found in just about every part of the body.
Think of it as an underground secret river that no one knew existed but which has been flowing everywhere.
This network is being hailed by some as “the 80th organ of the human body”.
What does this organ do?
There are quite a few hypotheses about the utility of the Interstitium:
- It acts as a shock-absorber for our internal organs
- It helps transport white blood cells
But what has really excited the scientific community is what it could tell us about diseases such as cancer. How does cancer develop and spread, how can a disease be detected early on and more importantly, how can it be cured?
In addition, further study of the Interstitium could also help explain the efficacy of alternative treatments such as acupuncture which tend to be viewed with scepticism.
Time will tell if this discovery is as earth-shattering as some say.
But for now, a lot of people are just happy that they’ve got something else to blame their fat on!
“I’m big-boned” is so passé.
“My interstitial fluid is just sooo thick, yaa” is the new excuse in town!
Author credits – Jaideep Bhide