What the appendix is good for

Some body parts seem pointless but in fact have purpose.

By Emily Sohn, 00:00 AM March 17, 2010

It was a Saturday morning in 1991 when 12-year old Heather Smith woke up feeling nauseous. Spring break was just beginning, and her parents were planning to take her skiing the next day in Flagstaff, Ariz. — two hours from their home in Tempe.

A stomachache was not how Smith wanted to start vacation. “I was hoping I would get better,” she says, “So I could go ski.”

As the day progressed, things worsened. A sharp pain developed in her lower right side. She couldn’t swallow the soup her sist...

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