Sciences. A new organ of the human body discovered between...

The human body would not have three different types of salivary glands, but four. Dutch researchers say they have discovered new salivary glands not yet identified. They are believed to be in the area where the nasal cavity and throat meet, according to a study published Sept. 23 in the journal Radiotherapy and Oncology.

These glands would be added to those already known to specialists, located near the ears, under the jaw and under the tongue, reports the New York Times. The oncologists who made the discovery actually sought to protect the salivary glands of patients undergoing radiation therapy, using high-precision medical imaging techniques.

Caution required in the study

The researchers then spotted two unknown bodies and then dissected two corpses to study them. The location of these two glands, more “buried” than the other three pairs, would explain why anatomy experts had never noticed them. Their existence allows us to better understand why some cancer patients treated with rays in the areas of the head or neck develop swallowing disorders.

Still, some radiologists hesitate to qualify this organ as “new glands”. In addition to the three pairs of main salivary glands, the body is indeed endowed with a thousand minor glands. The reticent also highlight the low diversity within the patients studied here. All 100 subjects had prostate or urinary gland cancer and only one was a woman.


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