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3rd August
2009
written by Sean Noble

This is not the kind of thing I need to read exactly 30 days after having my spleen removed in emergency surgery.  The New York Times ran a story on Monday lauding the importance of the spleen.

Scientists have discovered that the spleen, long consigned to the B-list of abdominal organs and known as much for its metaphoric as its physiological value, plays a more important role in the body’s defense system than anyone suspected.

Reporting in the current issue of the journal Science, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School describe studies showing that the spleen is a reservoir for huge numbers of immune cells called monocytes, and that in the event of a serious trauma to the body like a heart attack, gashing wound or microbial invasion, the spleen will disgorge those monocyte multitudes into the bloodstream to tackle the crisis.

“The parallel in military terms is a standing army,” said Matthias Nahrendorf, an author of the report. “You don’t want to have to recruit an entire fighting force from the ground up every time you need it.”

I think I want my standing army back.

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4 Comments

  1. Cameron Bolender
    03/08/2009

    Gives new meaning to the principle of “boots on the ground!”

    Maybe page 425 of the Health Plan is really a gateway to government spleen harvesting?

    ps. I know that the pg 425 buzz is just a bunch of FUD and that McCaughey is an alleged hack, but it does makes you wonder!

  2. Niki
    04/08/2009

    I guess “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone” applies even to abdominal organs. Well, I’m going to try not to take my spleen for granted anymore. Not quite sure how one goes about showing their appreciation for the spleen, but I’m going to find out.

  3. Woody
    04/08/2009

    Obviously the removal of your standing army is part of a vast liberal plot. Should have asked to see the doc’s voter registration card. From now on don’t run with scissors and wash your veggies with Listerine.

  4. David B
    04/08/2009

    No sweat Sean, you just can’t experience any additional ‘serious trauma’ for the balance of your natural life. Piece of cake! (No extreme sports, no fast food, no exceeding the speed limit, no etc. etc. etc….aka No Fun)

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