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As a teen, what is the thymus?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

It may sound like the name of a mythological Greek god, but the thymus is where your T cells mature. When you were a child, your thymus, which is located in front of your heart, was actually the size of your ticker. It shrinks dramatically as you age, until we can barely find it in eighty-year-olds. Presumably, this shrinkage is because you need a stronger immune response as a child, since you haven’t yet been exposed to many of the viruses and bacteria that can make you sick.

YOU: The Owner's Manual for Teens: A Guide to a Healthy Body and Happy Life

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YOU: The Owner's Manual for Teens: A Guide to a Healthy Body and Happy Life

A few years ago, we wrote YOU: The Owner’s Manual, which taught people about the inner workings of their bodies—and how to keep them running strong. But you know what? There’s a big difference...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.