The true purpose of the seemingly inert human appendix continues to elude modern medicine, but a new study suggests that those who have the organ removed due to appendicitis are at three times greater risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Appendicitis is defined as inflammation or rupturing of the appendix, a small organ located at the base of the large intestine. Each year around 300,000 Americans have their appendix removed, usually for this reason.

Using data from over 62 million patients in the US, scientists at Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center found 488,190 of them had had their appendices removed. Of those, 4,470 were eventually diagnosed with Parkinson’s — about one percent of the appendectomy group.

Read more at NY POST.