For a first-year surgical resident, the appendix (specifically, it’s removal) represents a prized surgical operation. For trained surgeons, the appendectomy is usually an urgent affair that requires giving up sleep or angering patients who have their office care delayed. Understanding the “true” role of the appendix requires both the hygiene hypothesis and the microbiome.
Unwanted microorganisms are a fact of life. Bugs grow everywhere we don't want them, from our showers and sinks to our toilets and toothbrushes. The scummy layers they form, called biofilms, are ugly and disgusting but mostly harmless in these settings. However, when they form on medical devices, such as catheters and implants, they can be life-threatening. A clever new material may prevent that.