Did you know that Thomas Bartholin was born today in 1616? He was a Danish physician. He is best known for discovering the lymphatic system in humans. The lymphatic system is the body’s drainage system. It collects and redistributes excess lymph fluid, which keeps the body’s cells healthy. The lymphatic system also helps your body fight infection. Lymph nodes filter out worn-out cells and germs. Other parts of the lymphatic system produce antibodies and macrophages, which attack and destroy germs. Without your lymphatic system, you would be very sick!
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Thomas Bartholin was also a mathematician and theologian. In the field of medicine Thomas Bartholin also studied refrigeration anesthesia and trisomy 13 (sometimes called Bartholin-Patau syndrome).
Olof Rudbeck is also credited with discovering the human lymphatic system. While he did not publish his findings until 1653, he did present his findings in Queen Christina of Sweden’s court in 1652.
Lymph fluid is a mixture of protein molecules, salts, glucose, and other substances. It brings nutrients to cells and carries away waste. The fluid is moved through the system as the body’s muscles contract during breathing or movement. Without the lymphatic system draining excess fluid, the body’s cells would swell.
When you are fighting an infection, the lymph nodes close to the infection may swell as germs are caught and collected in the lymph nodes. Sometimes doctors check for swollen ‘glands’, which are actually the swollen lymph nodes.
Parts of the lymphatic system include vessels, lymph nodes, spleen, thymus gland, and tonsils.