BOSTON (CBS) — Appendicitis is no fun but there may be an added benefit to having your appendix removed. A new study has found a link between the appendix and developing Parkinson’s disease.

Researchers looked at a half million people in Sweden and found those whose appendix had been removed early in life were at an almost a 20-percent lower risk of developing Parkinson’s compared to those who still had their appendix. And if they did develop Parkinson’s it was delayed up to 3 1/2 years.

The scientists also studied healthy appendices and found high levels of a protein similar to one that is found in the brains of people with Parkinson’s, suggesting that the appendix may serve as a reservoir for this protein and contribute to the development of Parkinson’s.

Dr. Mallika Marshall