Researchers from Ireland discovered that a part of our digestive tract called the mesentery, long considered merely as a tissue connecting the abdomen to the intestine, is actually a full-blown body organ. The new classification is suspected to open up a whole new medical field and improve our understanding of gut diseases.

Despite the tremendous scientific advances in recent times, we are constantly reminded of the many things left to explore, sometimes even in our own bodies. The recent discovery of a new human organ serves as a perfect example of that. While the mesenteric group of tissues had long been known, it was never considered an actual organ due to its seemingly fragmented and complex appearance. After careful inspection, however, the authors of the study from the University of Limeric (UL) concluded that the mesentery is one continuous organ after all.

“The anatomic description that had been laid down over 100 years of anatomy was incorrect. This organ is far from fragmented and complex. It is simply one continuous structure,” explained professor J Calvin Coffey, Professor of Surgery at UL’s Graduate Entry Medical School.

The discovery, published a little over a month ago, already led to some major changes to classification in medicine. The influential medical text book Gray´s anatomy had already been updated and the total number of organs has been officially changed to 79. The reclassification of the mesentery will likely not affect you directly, but refining our understanding of the human body could lead to better medical diagnosis and treatment in the future.

“When we approach [the mesentery] like every other organ, we can categorise abdominal disease in terms of this organ,” professor Coffey said. He also believes mesenteric science should become a separate field of medicine.

Find out more about the exciting new discovery in the video bellow:


By Luka Zupančič, MSc, University of Applied Sciences Technikum Vienna