The second brain in our stomachs
2012 07 12

By Michael Mosley | BBC TV

Our own stomachs may be something of a dark mystery to most of us, but new research is revealing the surprising ways in which our guts exert control over our mood and appetite.

Not many of us get the chance to watch our own stomach’s digestion in action.

But along with an audience at London’s Science Museum, I recently watched live pictures from my own stomach as the porridge I had eaten for breakfast was churned, broken up, exposed to acid and then pushed out into my small intestine as a creamy mush called chyme.

I had swallowed a miniature camera in the form of a pill that would spend the day travelling through my digestive system, projecting images onto a giant screen.

Its first stop was my stomach, whose complex work is under the control of what’s sometimes called "the little brain", a network of neurons that line your stomach and your gut.

Surprisingly, there are over 100 million of these cells in your gut, as many as there are in the head of a cat.

The little brain does not do a lot of complex thinking but it does get on with the essential daily grind involved in digesting food - lots of mixing, contracting and absorbing, to help break down our food and begin extracting the nutrients and vitamins we need.

And all those neurons lining our digestive system allow it to keep in close contact with the brain in your skull, via the vagus nerves, which often influence our emotional state.

For instance when we experience "butterflies in the stomach", this really is the brain in the stomach talking to the brain in your head. As we get nervous or fearful, blood gets diverted from our gut to our muscles and this is the stomach’s way of protesting.

[...]

Read the full article and see the video at: bbc.co.uk


Guts: The Strange and Mysterious World of the Human Stomach on BBC Four




Related Articles
Our Second Brain: The Stomach


Latest News from our Front Page

What happened to Journalist Serena Shim? Assassinated? Find out what happened to Serena, Press TV director calls on Turkey
2014 10 21
Press TV news director Hamid Reza Emadi says the “suspicious death,” of the news channel’s correspondent in Turkey is a tragedy for “anyone who wants to get the truth.” Emadi made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Sunday following Serena Shim’s death across the border from Syria’s Kurdish city of Kobani, where the ISIL terrorists and Kurdish fighters ...
Ancient Roman Nanotechnology Inspires Next-Generation Holograms for Information Storage
2014 10 21
The Lycurgus Cup, as it is known due to its depiction of a scene involving King Lycurgus of Thrace, is a 1,600-year-old jade green Roman chalice that changes colour depending on the direction of the light upon it. It baffled scientists ever since the glass chalice was acquired by the British Museum in the 1950s, as they could not work ...
Rapid Geomagnetic Reversal Possibility: Confirmed
2014 10 21
From the video: "The scientists who conducted the study are still unsure why the magnetic field is weakening, but one likely reason is the Earth’s magnetic poles are getting ready to flip, said Rune Floberghagen, the ESA’s Swarm mission manager. In fact, the data suggest magnetic north is moving toward Siberia." Tune into Red Ice Radio: Ben Davidson - Suspicious0bservers: Space Weather ...
Georgia Guide Stone 2014 cube stone removal
2014 10 21
From: Youtube: Was it all just a gag? it seems the cube stone just happens to be made out of the same Elberton granite that the rest of this morbid monument is made from.
Secret Project Created Weaponized Ebola In South Africa In The 1980s
2014 10 21
“No records are available to confirm that the biological agents were destroyed.” Operating out of South Africa during the Apartheid era in the early 1980’s, Dr. Wouter Basson launched a secret bioweapons project called Project Coast. The goal of the project was to develop biological and chemical agents that would either kill or sterilize the black population and assassinate political enemies. ...
More News »