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Pharmaceutical Firms Pressure Us To Accept Papers That Make Spurious, Negative Conclusions About Hydroxylchloroquine –Lancet, NEJM

**Lancet Editor Spills the Beans

by Vera Sharav

Alliance for Human Research Protection

Philippe Douste-Blazy, MD, is a cardiologist and former French Health Minister who served as Under-Secretary General of the United Nations. He was a candidate in 2017 for Director of the World Health Organization.

Philippe Douste-Blazy, MD

In a videotaped interview on May 24, 2020, Dr. Douste-Blazy provided insight into how a series of negative hydroxychloroquine studies got published in prestigious medical journals.

He revealed that at a recent Chatham House top secret, closed door meeting attended by experts only, the editors of both The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine expressed their exasperation, citing the pressures put on them by pharmaceutical companies.

He states that each of the editors used the word “criminal” to describe the erosion of science.

He quotes Dr. Richard Horton who bemoaned the current state of science:

“If this continues, we are not going to be able to publish any more clinical research data because pharmaceutical companies are so financially powerful; they are able to pressure us to accept papers that are apparently methodologically perfect, but their conclusion is what pharmaceutical companies want.”

Dr. Richard Horton

Dr. Douste-Blazy supports the combination treatment –hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and azithromycin (AZ) for Covid-19 recommended by Dr. Didier Raoult. In April, 2020

Dr. Douste-Blazy started a petition that has been signed by almost 500,000 French doctors and citizens urging French government officials to permit physicians to prescribe hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus patients early, before they require intensive care.

The issue has become highly politicized; the left-leaning politicians and public health officials are adamantly against the use of HCQ, whereas those leaning toward the right politically are for the right of doctors to prescribe the drug as they see fit.

The journal SCIENCE described the response to French President Emmanuel Macron trip to Marseille to meet Dr. Raoult who prescribes the combination drug regimen and he has documented their effectiveness.

However, public health officials, academic physicians and the media – all of who are financially indebted to pharmaceutical companies and their high profit marketing objectives – vehemently oppose the use of HCQ, and use every opportunity to disparage the drug by derisively referring to President Trump as its booster.

The Lancet Published a Fraudulent Study: Editor Calls it “Department of Error”
by Vera Sharav
Alliance for Human Research Protection

On May 22, 2020, The Lancet published “Hydroxychloroquine or Chloroquine With or Without A Macrolide For Treatment of COVID-19: a Multinational Registry Analysis”. It was described as an observational study purportedly involving more than 96,000 hospitalized Covid-19 patients in 671 hospitals across six continents. What was not disclosed is the fact that the two lead co-authors have significant, relevant financial conflicts of interest that just may have biased the reported findings.

Dr. Sapan Desai

Mandeep Mehra, MD

The database belongs to Surgisphere Corporation whose founder and CEO, is Dr. Sapan Desai, who is a lead co-author of the study. Dr. Desai has refused to disclose the data – for independent confirmatory review. In fact, he refuses to identify the participating hospitals, or even the countries.
Dr. Mandeep Mehra, the lead co-author is a director at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, which is credited with funding the study. Dr. Mehra and The Lancet failed to disclose that Brigham Hospital has a partnership with Gilead and is currently conducting TWO trials testing Remdesivir, the prime competitor of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19, the focus of the study.

The Lancet report claimed that COVID-19 “patients treated with hydroxychloroquine (with or without a macrolide) were at increased risk of de-novo ventricular arrhythmia and ‘a greater hazard for in-hospital death.’” Such an alarming finding from an inaccessible dataset should have raised concerns for the editor of the Lancet, about the integrity of the study and the accuracy of the claimed findings. In fact, within days of the Lancet publication, concerns about that dataset were raised on social media, on PubPeer, the post-publication discussion website, and in newspapers.

Within days of publication, Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) declared on CNN

“The scientific data is really quite evident now about the lack of efficacy.”

A media blitz against hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) created panic: clinical trials aimed at testing hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 were suspended by International public health institutions including the World Health Organization the UK government regulatory agency and the French government.

The chief scientist at the WHO, Soumya Swaminathan, stated that although the Lancet data weren’t from a randomized controlled trial, the data were compelling because they

“came from multiple registries and quite a large number of patients, 96,000 patients.”

Knowledgeable scientists and experienced clinicians around the world were skeptical
The alarming findings and serious negative impact of the Lancet report led numerous scientists around the globe to scrutinize the report in detail. That scrutiny by legitimate, independent scientists has led to many serious questions about the integrity of the study, the authenticity of the data, and the validity of the methods the authors used.

An Open Letter posted online, is addressed to the authors of the report: Mandeep R Mehra, MD, Sapan S Desai, MD, Frank Ruschitzka, MD, Amit N Patel, MD, and to the editor, Dr. Richard Horton. The letter was signed by more than 200 prominent scientists across the world, including 17 from institutions in Africa.

The scientists question the evidence for claimed serious risks posed from the use of hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients. Among the concerns raised by the scientists are the following:

A range of gross deviations from standard research and clinical practices, such as: patients were prescribed inexplicably high daily doses of hydroxychloroquine –far higher than the FDA-recommended doses.
There was no ethics review.
The number of patients reportedly from Australia far exceeded the number of patients in the Australian government database;.
Gross misrepresentation of the numbers of deaths in Australia.
“Both the number of cases and deaths [the claimed 40% deaths in Africa], and the details provide seem unlikely.”
Refusal to identify the hospitals that contributed patient data.
The ratios of patients who received chloroquine (49 %) to those who received hydroxychloroquine (50% ) are implausible; in Australia chloroquine is not available without special government authorization.
The Guardian reported on May 28th that it could not confirm that UK’s health agencies had even provided data for the study.

On May 29th The New York Times reported that 100 scientists and clinicians raised serious questions about the validity of the The Lancet report findings. It reported that on May 29th Dr. Mehra issued the following statement:

“We leveraged the data available through Surgisphere to provide observational guidance to inform the care of hospitalized Covid-19 patients”

[Perhaps someone can translate what “leveraged the data” means ….? The Times understated the number of scientists who signed the open letter; it is closer to 220.]

Dr. James Watson

Dr. James Watson, senior scientist at the MORU-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit in Thailand doubts that any research organization could have obtained such detailed massive records for so many people in Africa that quickly. Based on healthcare workers’ descriptions of medical record-keeping, at many hospitals in Africa, he indicated:

“I just find it very hard to believe.”

Dr. Watson contributed concerns regarding the African data to the Open Letter. He had to suspend a just-launched trial of HCQ to comply with UK regulators following the Lancet report.

Dr. Anthony Etyang

Dr. Anthony Etyang, a consultant physician and clinical epidemiologist with the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kenya, who is also a signatory to the Open Letter, wrote to The Scientist expressing his doubts about the numbers of African patients in the Surgisphere dataset, noting that even private hospitals on the continent have poor medical records.

Rather than investigating the serious issues raised about the integrity of the report, The Lancet editor posted the authors’ claimed to “correction” of the numbers of patients in Asia and Australia on a page designated “Department of Error” – whatever that means!

The nature and number of the serious “discrepancies” that have emerged following the Lancet publication of the Surgisphere “study,” lead one to suspect out-and-out FRAUD.

Catherine Offord

Disputed Hydroxychloroquine Study Brings Scrutiny to Surgisphere, an investigative report by Catherine Offord in The SCIENTIST, May 30, 2020, looked deeper than others and uncovered background information about Dr. Desai and the changes in Surgisphere’s product line and his marketing methods. In 2008, Surgisphere was the publisher of medical textbooks that ran afoul when physicians complained about falsified rave reviews. In 2010, Surgisphere became a high impact, online medical journal, whose website boasts that it

“accrued over 50,000 subscribers spanning almost every country around the world… with almost one million page views per month.”

The Journal of Surgical Radiology had a three-year run; its last issue was published in January 2013.

The Scientist reports that Dr. Desai is named in three medical malpractice lawsuits that were filed during the second half of 2019.

Additional disturbing facts about Surgisphere have been uncovered by a team of investigative reporters — Melissa Davey, Stephanie Kirchgaessner, and Sarah Boseley – for The Guardian.

Surgisphere, the company that provided the database for studies published by two of the world’s leading medical journals – The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine – based on Surgisphere data. The studies were co-authored the hydroxychloroquine studies.

“Surgisphere’s employees have little or no data or scientific background. An employee listed as a science editor appears to be a science fiction author and fantasy artist. Another employee listed as a marketing executive is an adult model and events hostess… until Monday, the “get in touch” link on Surgisphere’s homepage redirected to a WordPress template for a cryptocurrency website, raising questions about how hospitals could easily contact the company to join its database.”

The fiasco of the publication of essentially fraudulent reports in the journals with the greatest impact on both clinical treatment and public health policies, reveals how thoroughly corrupted so-called peer review has become because it lacks external, independent review by scientists who have NO STAKE in the study outcome. It was only after the reports by The Scientist andThe Guardian, that the editors of The NEJM and The Lancet were compelled to issue an: “Expression of concern.” This fiasco demonstrates why intelligent people seek alternative sources for reliable information.

The website, Science Defies Politics exposes numerous scientifically invalid studies that were essentially “hit jobs” against the use of hydroxychloroquine.

WHY are very powerful corporate-government stakeholders so intent on killing a drug with a 70 year track record? Because the drug works against the pandemic; it is readily available, and costs very little. Therefore, it poses a financial threat to both pharma companies and their partners in government and academia, those who are intent on profiting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

As uncovered by Science Defies Politics: 16 of the panel members selected by NIH to formulate the official COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines – including two of the three co-chairs – were paid by Gilead. They issued guidelines that raised fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the use of HCQ combined with AZ, while raising no fear, doubt, or uncertainty about using Gilead’s unproven, unapproved, drug remdesivir; a drug that has shown mediocre performance in clinical trials. Seven of the NIH panelists failed to disclose their financial ties to Gilead. They are listed here.

The medical scientific literature is infested with financially motivated, shoddy, studies aimed at promoting products and, when a life-saving, non-patentable product, proves effective, scientists are hired to author study reports that are designed to tarnish scientists’ reputations, and to proclaim findings that refute legitimate findings. In this case, studies designed to “debunk” the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine against COVID-19.

Examples of countries and physicians who have witnessed the effectiveness of the HCQ – Az combination as a treatment for covid-19, are viewed by corporate-government collaborating partners as posing a major threat to their marketing agendas.

For example, Senegal and India are putting their hopes in hydroxychloroquine, marketed by Sanofi, under the trade name Plaquenil. A Sanofi spokesperson stated:

“We are providing the drug to hospitals and doctors to enable them to carry out clinical trials to determine whether hydroxychloroquine is effective or not, but not to treat Covid-19.”

On May 23rd the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) issued expanded revised guidelines for use of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) for COVID-19:

“The Joint Monitoring Group and the NTF have recommended prophylactic use of HCQ in asymptomatic frontline workers, such as surveillance workers deployed in containment zones and paramilitary/police personnel involved in Covid-19 related activities, asymptomatic household contacts of laboratory confirmed cases and all asymptomatic healthcare workers involved in containment and treatment of Covid-19 and working in non-Covid hospitals/non-Covid areas of Covid hospitals/blocks.”

Didier Raoult, MD, PhD — “a Science Star” — as the NYT described him in a recent profile, who has identified 500 novel species of human-borne bacteria; a scientist known all over the world as the discoverer of the first giant virus, a discovery that earned him the Grand Prix, one of France’s most prestigious awards.

Didier Raoult, MD, PhD

Dr. Raoult is the founder and director of the research hospital, the Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire Méditerranée Infection (IHU). He is a professor on the faculty of Medicine of Ais-Marseille University, and since 2008, he has been the director of the Infectious and Tropical Emergent Diseases Research Unit), which employs more than 200 people and runs a hospital with 3,700 patients. He has more than 2,300 indexed publications and was classified among the ten leading French researchers by the journal Nature. Dr. Raoult has a reputation for bluster but also for creativity that others lack. As the Times noted, “He looks where no one else cares to, with methods no one else is using, and [he] finds things.”

Since publishing favorable reports about a treatment combination of two cheap, widely prescribed medicines: hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin, as a treatment of choice against Covid-19, Dr. Raoult has become the subject of intense demonization by the corporate-influenced medical establishment, the media, and the who resort to this tactic whenever they lack evidence or legitimate grounds to support public health policies that cause people harm. Their fallback tactic is to demonize every doctor who challenges them and refuses to adhere to their financially – driven prescribing decrees.

Dr. Raoult’s latest scientific report about HCQ, Early Diagnosis and Management of COVID-19 Patients: A Real-Life Cohort study of 3,737 Patients, Marseille, France was posted on May 27, 2020,

It is a retrospective study report of the clinical management of 3,737 patients, including 3,054 (81.7%) treated with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin (HCQ-AZ) for at least three days and 683 (18.3%) patients treated with other methods. Outcomes were death, transfer to the intensive care unit (ICU), ≥ 10 days of hospitalization and viral shedding.

“Treatment with HCQ-AZ was associated with a decreased risk of transfer to the ICU or death (HR 0.19 0.12-0.29), decreased risk of hospitalization ≥10 days (odds ratios 95% CI 0.37 0.26-0.51) and shorter duration of viral shedding (time to negative PCR: HR 1.27 1.16-1.39). QTc prolongation (>60 ms) was observed in 25 patients (0.67%) leading to the cessation of treatment in 3 cases. No cases of torsade de pointe or sudden death were observed.

Conclusion
Early diagnosis, early isolation and early treatment with at least 3 days of HCQ-AZ result in a significantly better clinical outcome and contagiosity in patients with COVID-19 than other treatments.”

In France, doctors who have followed the research of Dr. Raoult, and have themselves witnessed the effectiveness of the HCQ-AZ combination, are suing the government. They demand the right to treat their patients with these drugs before easing of the lockdown. They seek to prevent complications and deaths from a second wave of Covid-19.

Violaine Guerin, MD

Dr. Violaine Guérin, an endocrinologist who conducted a trial on 100 doctors infected with COVID-19, and their families, reported her study findings that demonstrated the effectiveness of prescribing HCQ combined with azithromycin at the first sign of symptoms. The drugs substantially reduced the viral load of Covid-19:

“Taking hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin on the outset of flu symptoms can prevent Covid-19 from getting worse. We can treat people now before they end up on a ventilator.”

Her findings replicated those Dr. Didier Raoult.

Dr. Guérin recommends prescribing hydroxychloroquine for health workers infected by the coronavirus, which is outside of its approved uses. Health unions in France warned that almost 12,000 health care professionals out of 550,000 – roughly a quarter of the country’s health force – were sick with Covid-19. Dr. Guérin recommends its use on compassionate grounds, stating:

“From the very beginning, doctors have been calling for the right to self-prescribe because they are the ones on the frontline of the coronavirus battle. We cannot waste time when we can treat Covid-19 now, as long as this is done in the early stages of the virus and patients are screened for pre-existing medical conditions.”

Soon after this favorable study was published, the Minister of Health Olivier Veran in bald political arm twisting fashion, asked the highest health authority to review its authorization for the use of HCQ to treat Covid, suggesting further restriction.

French Health Minister Olivier Veran

Read the full article at AHRP.org.

Coronavirus

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Unknown Largest Organ In Human Body Discovered, Interstitium |The Republican News

Tanya Basu
© Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast A study published in Scientific Reports on Tuesday suggests that a previously unknown organ has been found in the human body.

 

More astonishingly, the paper puts forth the idea that this new organ is the largest by volume among all 80 organs—if what the researchers found is, in fact, an organ.

How could what’s being termed as the largest organ in our body escape notice for so long? A dogged trio of researchers stumbled upon the organ—despite the fact that it’s a crucial part of our bodies and been there all along, right in front of us. It’s an astounding find—but not without controversy.

When I first met Neil Theise at a busy, east side Manhattan deli in the middle of the workday last November, I was embarrassingly late, having budgeted 15 minutes for what turned out to be an hour-long trip. Theise—unassuming in a scrunched shirt and jacket—cheerfully waited, but I was late enough that he’d start eating a hot, open-faced turkey sandwich with gravy, while jovially chatting with the wait staff (“I’ve been coming here since I was a kid!” he announced).

Between slurps of soup, Theise told me that he’d been working on several medical studies for the past few years. He was a Jewish Buddhist, a man who at home with discussing the various veins of meditative practices in the same breath as the intricacies of liver pathology.

Out of nowhere, he told me that he’d stumbled upon a hidden organ.

“An organ?” I asked, incredulous. “But haven’t we discovered them all?” In January 2017, researchers at the University of Limerick published their defining of a fold in the lining of the abdomen as a new organ in The Lancet.

But this wasn’t the same. Theise smiled, expecting the reaction, and knowing that I probably thought he was making something up or more likely had severely exaggerated something much more tame and inane. Theise said that he’d not only found a new organ, he’d found what he estimated to be the largest organ by volume, only increasing my confusion—and scepticism.

The new organ, he explained, was a thin layer of dense connective tissue throughout the body, sandwiched just under our skin and within the middle layer of every visceral organ. The organ also made up all the fascia, or the thin mesh of tissue separating every muscle and all the tissue around every vein and artery, from largest to smallest. What initially seemed to be a solid, dense, connective tissue layer was actually a complex network of fluid-filled cavities that are strong and flexible, yet so tiny and undiscerning that they escaped the attention of the brightest scientific minds for generations.

In fact, Theise expanded, this “interstitium” could explain many of modern medicine’s mysteries, often dismissed by the establishment as either silly or explainable by other phenomena. Take acupuncture, Theise said—that energetic healing jolt may be traced to the interstitium.

Or perhaps the interstitium acted as a “shock absorber,” something that protected other organs and muscles in daily function. Also, the space is in direct communication with the lymphatic system as the origin of lymph fluid—which means the interstitium’s system of fluid-filled backroads could explain the metastasis of cancer cells and their quick spread beyond the limits of the organ in which the cancer started.

The man scarfing down a turkey sandwich before me in a New York deli claimed to not only have stumbled upon an organ but the largest one in our body, something that was sure to change not just medical textbooks but the way we understood everything from cancer to acupuncture to inflammation. It was astonishing, almost too good to be true. Was it real?

One day nearly four years ago, David Carr-Locke and Petros Benias, endoscopists— specialists that insert an endoscope directly into an organ to examine it—approached Theise. Theise was a liver pathologist at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital’s Digestive Disease Division at the time, and they were nerding out together; Theise called Carr-Locke a “technology junkie,” someone who was obsessed with checking out the latest medical equipment.

That the three had a close friendship as well as a professional relationship is not surprising; their work, after all, was intertwined. Endoscopists like Carr-Locke and Benias collect samples from organs and pathologists like Theise analyze them. Endoscopists tend to look at the surface-level tissue, while pathologists look deeper, at the entirety of an organ.

That fateful day, Carr-Locke and Benias approached Theise with an unusual image, one that had been puzzling them. A new endoscope they were using allowed microscopic viewing of living tissues, not just the dead tissues removed at surgery or biopsy and transformed into a microscope slide. Carr-Locke and Benias gathered the sample from living tissue just before taking a biopsy. They used a green dye called fluorescein, which spreads through the body when infused into a vein and allows an endoscopist to clearly see differences in microscopic, closely set structures to a depth of less than a tenth of a millimetre, or the thickness of 7 sheets of paper.

Carr-Locke and Benias were viewing the large bile duct that drains bile from the liver to the gut and saw what seemed to be a “reticular pattern”: dark bands that separate what Theise called “oddly shaped bright spaces.”

interstitial interstitium new organ anatomy body neil theise carr-locke benias human microscope liver pathology endoscopy pathologist endoscopist new york university scientific report© Provided by The Daily Beast interstitial interstitium new organ anatomy body Neil Theise carr-locke benias human microscope liver pathology endoscopy pathologist endoscopist new york university… 

“What is that?” they asked Theise.

At first, the three of them agreed what they were looking at looked like capillaries. “But if they were capillaries, the capillary structures would be bright—filled with the fluorescent dye—and the spaces between them would be dark,” Theise realized. “This was the reverse.”

Endoscopists who had been reporting this pattern had made guesses in their published papers about what they were, none of which made sense to the group. Theise reached out to his histology books from medical school. “None of them had pictures of the bile duct outside of the liver, because, really, who cares about the anatomy of a bile duct?” he said.

They went back to the basics, referring to old medical textbooks. They pored over microscope slides of the actual bile duct, peering at the stained images and trying to figure out what these alien tunnels could be. They tried a different stain, a trichrome stain that colours collagen cobalt. These stains turned up normal, but modern medical textbooks offered no advice as to what those odd bright bands were.

What deepened the mystery was the fact that the structures were in normal tissues. This wasn’t an oddball disease variant; it was the baseline normal, appearing in slide after slide of normal tissue. It seemed to appear consistently, almost mocking its investigators to frustration with its existence and lack of a name.

Theise, Carr-Locke, and Benias were desperate. The team decided they needed to get tissue from the viewing scope to the microscope slide as quickly as possible. They needed a patient having their pancreas removed for a tumour who’d also have to get part of their bile duct removed as well. If the endoscope was used on this living tissue, just prior to surgical removal, they could confirm the presence of the pattern, then quickly freeze the tissue to preserve the structure as much as possible.

“So we got patients to agree that before they got their surgery, while they’re lying there on the table ready for the surgery, we would the first endoscope them” so they could see the reticular pattern in the bile duct and then quickly take a sample of a bile duct. And then? “Take it out and put it on this little metal platform with this goop we put things in to do frozen sections, so it makes it hard enough so you can slice really thin sections,” he explained.

And there it was again: the reticular pattern, this time not through an endoscope, but rather on a slide, under a microscope.

These slices proved two things for the team. First, they were onto something that only endoscopists and a liver pathologist could have seen with each other’s complementary skill set. And second, perhaps more importantly, they had identified anatomy that no one had described before.

What is an organ? Anatomy textbooks are rather fuzzy about what defines an ‘organ’, requiring one to have primary tissue—parenchyma—and “sporadic” tissue, called stroma, which can be nerves, vessels, and other connective tissue. Organs are the necessary building blocks of organisms (hence, the name), and can be gigantic or microscopic. So long as cells clump together to form tissues, and these tissues organize themselves into organs that perform specific functions in the survival of an organism, that mass of tissues and cells can be called an organ.

Theise, Carr-Locke, and Benias weren’t sure what to call this space with its collagen bundles and fluid. The fluid itself appeared rich in proteins typical of lymphatics and serum, but the space was neither lymphatic nor vascular (meaning that it contained neither veins, not arteries), so what could it be?

That’s when it dawned on them that what they’d stumbled upon was actually talked about in medical textbooks, but that they were the first to actually define it.

This thing they were looking at, struggling to understand with its bizarre structure and rule-breaking form, was the interstitium, a space vaguely described in textbooks as where “extracellular fluid” is found, the fluid that isn’t contained within cells. What doctors had defined as “dense connective tissue” wasn’t dense connective tissue at all. In fact, they were all fluid-filled structures that only appeared to be densely compacted when tissues were made into slides, the fluid draining away, the collagen lattice collapsing onto itself.

They had a theory—that the space was the interstitium—and a way to prove it. They were on to something.

a close up of a logo: interstitial interstitium new organ anatomy body neil theise carr-locke benias human microscope liver pathology endoscopy pathologist endoscopist new york university scientific report© Provided by The Daily Beast interstitial interstitium new organ anatomy body neil theise carr-locke benias human microscope liver pathology endoscopy pathologist endoscopist new york university… 

So far they had only recognized this in the bile duct. But Theise began to recognize through his daily lot of diagnostic slides from surgical resections and biopsies of all sorts of tissues and tumours that the dense connective tissue layers of other parts of the body also had the same appearance as this layer in the bile duct. He noticed it in stomach and intestine and oesophagal specimens, then he saw it in fascia around muscles and in fat. And then he noticed it around veins and arteries. Then skin.

It seemed to be everywhere, and Theise realized the potential enormity of what they’d discovered, calculating that it was largest organ of the body by volume—larger even than that of skin due to its wrapping around every organ, including the skin. At about 20 percent of all the fluid of the body, and about 10 liters, it was gigantic despite the fact that it could only be seen by peering through a microscope: The cardiovascular system (heart, veins, arteries, and capillaries) weighed in at about a third of that volume, the cerebrospinal fluid 20 times smaller.

Neil Theise’s office at the New York University School of Medicine is unassuming and cramped. Books are spilling out of shelves; his desk is dominated by a state-of-the-art microscope. He often works in solitude, and has a meditative, spiritual streak; the wall opposite his desk features a photo of him with the Dalai Lama. Behind Theise, outside a window, lays a mess of rooftops and cars and concrete, with the Empire State Building rising above it all.

It’s not a place one would think a major biological discovery was made, where Theise pushed against disbelievers about his work, suggesting that he was making something out of nothing, or worse, that the thought of a new organ snuggled just beneath our skin—right underneath our eyes despite advances in technology—was preposterous. We’d found all the organs there possibly could be to be found; how could an organ have escaped noticed until 2018?

“We always thought those cracks were, ‘Oh, we tore the tissue a little,’” Theise said as he flipped through slides that consistently showed the wavy, almost dancing, spaces that were in each slide. “But no, those tiny ‘cracks’ are the remnants of the interstitial spaces. For 200 years, we said these cracks were just torn artefacts.”

a close up of a logo: interstitial interstitium new organ anatomy body neil theise carr-locke benias human microscope liver pathology endoscopy pathologist endoscopist new york university scientific report© Provided by The Daily Beast interstitial interstitium new organ anatomy body neil theise carr-locke benias human microscope liver pathology endoscopy pathologist endoscopist new york university… 

Theise went further. With organs that contracted constantly, like the gastrointestinal tract or heart, why was it that they were so flexible, so capable of handling the daily stress of continuing to contract predictably, automatically, and regularly without wearing out? “It’s a shock absorber,” Theise realized. These cells formed a protective, elastic sort of wall around each organ, allowing them to do their perform pressurized functions that would otherwise break them down over time. Instead, they’re going on and on, thanks to the interstitium.

What’s next for Theise, Carr-Locke, and Benias? They’re bracing for feedback, but looking forward to the as-yet-unexplored, boundary-pushing potential of the interstitium. Theise said their team had submitted their paper to eight different journals (one sending the feedback that a new organ was “not of interest to a general audience”) before finally being accepted by Scientific Reports.

“There’s something new here,” he said. “No one’s ever seen it before, but it’s been there the whole time.”   (Daily Beast)

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