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All about the Thymus

The thymus is a little known organ situated behind the upper breast bone but plays a vital function.

Not much was known about this organ, even though the early Greeks were aware of it's existence just in front of the heart. In their minds it was called 'thymus' the Greek word for 'soul'.

It is largest in childhood when it is most active, producing what are known as T-cells. These white blood cells play a vital role in controlling the function of the immune system and are also activated when a foreign substance is detected in the body, rushing to destroy it.

It begins its task of producing T-cells in the foetus and by adulthood has produced sufficient cells. Children with an underactive thymus can have a weakened immune system.

T-cells are of great interest to researchers working in the realm of soft-tissue diseases which has led to new ways of combating some of these conditions.