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Scientists discover the appendix may be crucial to digestive health

The appendix may not be useless after all, according to Melbourne scientists.

Researchers at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute have discovered the appendix – a small pouch protruding from the large intestine – could be crucial to digestive health.

Professor Gabrielle Belz, head of molecular immunology, said the often-removed organ is often thought of as redundant but new research indicated that was not the case.

‘We think it’s just a really important part of the gut and ensuring it stays healthy,’ Professor Belz said.

‘We haven’t taken that much notice of the appendix,’ she said. ‘So now there are studies that are ongoing that are trying to look at what is the difference between people with and without an appendix.’

LISTEN: Professor Gabrielle Belz explains the science to Ross and John