Does mirror-reversed human anatomy exist?

I believe most people have their liver on the left side of their body, appendix on the right. Is mirror reversal of this known? What is this condition called? How rare is it? Are the people left-handed?

Yes, Mirror reversal occurs as a genetic defect. Apparently a left/right alignment gene is mutated and so alignment occurs at random. This means half of the people with this gene have mirror reversal. As far as I know the gene is very rare.

On a personal note my great grandfather had a misplaced heart, on the right side rather than the left. He took great delight when medical students who were asked to listen to his heart pronounced him dead.

Well, if you rotated a person’s body through the fourth dimension, you could literally turn them into their own mirror image. I don’t think there’s any way to do it in a three-dimensional universe, though.

Yeah, this does exist. My friend’s brother has this condition. All of his organs are reversed. I know he’s been on the cover of a couple of magazines and so forth a while back. Apparently there’s a lot of complications that go along with this and it tends to not lead one to be a very healthy person. I’m not quite sure as to the complications in specifics.

There are a number of variations on this syndrome.

One of them, Kartagener’s Syndrome, is associated with lung and sinus infections. It has been theorized that the unifying link is with so-called “immotile cilia”. Normally, these microscopic cilia, which are essentially tiny fingers protruding from the surface of certain cells, act to waft and direct germs (and other stuff) along a desired direction (say out of the bronchial tubes and thence out of the body via the mouth). With respect to embryonic development, they may also direct the inchoate organs into the proper side of the chest and abdomen.

If these cilia are immotile (unable to move and waft) it could lead to increased bronchial-type infections and also cause organ placement to be random, eg. 50% to be on the right or left.

For a typical discussion see this link.

Shouldn’t they have put him on the back rather than the cover? :smiley:

And, daggumit, I thought the OP title was gonna let me talk about my old girlfriend’s inverted nipples.

Q: “I believe most people have their liver on the left side of their body, appendix on the right. Is mirror reversal of this known? What is this condition called?”

A: Yes. Situs inversus.

One of my stepsons is a mirror image identical twin. The other is…well, not. They’re both perfectly healthy; one is just anatomically reversed from the other. It’s sort of strange. He’s supposed to wear a “medic-alert” bracelet, but he doesn’t.

Not to nit-pick, but the liver is on the right and the spleen on the left. The appendix is on the right.

One mother, with a son who has situs inversus, told me that she used him to assess potential family docs. She would have him examined by the ‘candidate’ doc and if s/he detected that the heart was on the right (and didn’t just fake it and say, “yes his heart sounds fine” while listening on the left), she knew she had a physician that she could trust.

The fourth dimension is time.

The Fifth Dimension was a mediocre '60s rock group. :smiley:

I had a friend who’s appendicitis became life-threatening because it wasn’t diagnosed in time due to his appendix being on the wrong side of his body.

Sorry - the OTHER side of his body.

*Originally posted by samclem *

Am I the only person who wants the details on this?

See also backwards people(?), from a couple of weeks ago.

(Don’t worry, Joanie, I’ll never tell.)

I was watching a video in my Medical Ethics class a week or so ago and a guy was getting Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) done because he did not want his child to get the disease he had, which involved all of his organs being on the wrong side of his body. I think they called it Hirshsprung’s Disease. That’s what it sounded like, so I doubt I spelled it correctly.

Don’t think it’s called Hirschsprung’s Disease. That term refers to a large bowel problem with life-threatening constipation.