Medicine: Capsules, Jul. 10, 1978


Though surprisingly little is known about the spleen, a small organ located beneath the left rib cage, it has at least one important function: filtering bacteria and foreign material from the blood. That function makes the spleen particularly important in warding off serious bacterial infections and meningitis in children, who have not yet developed immunity to certain microorganisms. Yet doctors have long been puzzled by the fact that such infections, relatively common in children whose spleens have been removed in the treatment of cancer or blood disease, seldom show up in youngsters whose spleens have ruptured and then been...

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