Long belittled as inconsequential, the appendix is hardly the rock star of body organs. But its reputation may get a boost from new research that suggests that removing it may lower the risk for Parkinson's disease.
The finding follows an analysis that examined how appendix removal surgery (appendectomy) affected Parkinson's risk among 1.6 million Swedish residents.
The study couldn't prove cause and effect, but it found that appendectomy lowered Parkinson's risk by roughly 20 percent.
"This is a tissue that most people consider to be a useless organ. It's attached to the large intestine, and it's removed as a very common surgical practice," said study author Viviane Labrie. She's a neuroscientist with the Center for Neurodegenerative Science at the Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids, Mich.
The new findings suggest, "that the appendix may be a tissue site that plays a role in the initiation of Parkinson…