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What Are You Missing?

Updated: Jul 15, 2020

Scientific American published an article on March 27, 2018 written by Rachael Rettner entitled “Meet Your Interstitium, a Newfound ‘Organ’” where researchers from the New York University Langone School of Medicine announced that they have found a new organ in the human body.

No joke! Here are four (4) excerpts from the article:

  • “They’ve found a network of fluid-filled spaces in tissue that hadn’t been seen before.”

  • “The researchers said these fluid-filled spaces had been missed for decades because they don’t show up on the standard microscopic slides that researchers use to peer into the cellular world.”

  • “When scientists prepare tissue samples for these slides, they treat the samples with chemicals, cut them into thin slices and dye them to highlight key features. But this fixing process drains away fluid and causes the newfound fluid-filled spaces to collapse.”

  • “The researchers are calling this network of fluid-filled spaces an organ—the Interstitium.”

The discovery of a new human organ is quite astounding and could have significant impact towards understanding the human body and the potential for curing disease and improving the human condition.

How is this possible?

The incredible part to me is that there have been millions of surgeries, millions of CAT scans, millions of MRI’s and thousands of PhD’s, MD’s and nurses probing, operating and working on and in human bodies across the world. But it wasn’t until now that we discover a new human organ. How is that possible?

One of the keys to the puzzle is in the third bullet above. The reason the interstitium was not been seen before is because of the way that researchers, doctors and scientists have prepared and viewed tissue. The process of preparing tissue samples actually destroyed the existence of the organ! Researchers all agreed on the ‘correct’ way to view tissue so it was never challenged in a way that changed the process. Everyone just did what everyone else did and proceeded with their practice.

I can imagine research centers teaching students to become scientists and testing them on the ‘correct’ way to prepare tissues slides. But the education and training of the ‘correct’ process actually destroyed discovery!

What are you missing?

This discovery should have an impact for you and your farm. I am in no position to bash scientists and the medical profession, that’s for sure. But let’s use this discovery to open our own eyes to the practices and decisions we are making on the farm.

What could you be doing in your operation that is actually destroying new ideas and new discoveries about the very thing you know so well, your very own farm?  If doctors have missed an organ in plain site (it’s not like the interstitium just appeared in our bodies overnight!) what are the possibilities that you are missing something significant because you are so familiar with how things are currently done?

Familiarity is a good thing. You have dug the same dirt with your bare hands, planted crops for decades on the same fields and sweated over decisions ranging from seed to insurance. You have read, studied and worked with Ag experts and are keeping up with technology to make your operation better. But familiarity can also be a barrier to new understanding, just ask the researchers at New York University Langone School of Medicine.

The Challenge

Don’t accept your own, or other’s standard operating procedures without challenging your personal viewpoint. You may be missing opportunities of discovery as you have stopped challenging your own perspective because you are so familiar with everything farming. You may need to alter your own discovery techniques regarding seed, soil health, financials, chemicals and relationships. A new discovery may be right under your nose and it may have been there for a long time.

Michael Gustafson is a Principal with Farmers First Trust


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