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Response to Warpy (Reply #4)

Fri Jan 20, 2012, 01:39 PM

5. Understood

The most interesting part of the article is not in dispute. It is.

The gut—considered as a single digestive organ that includes the esophagus, stomach and intestines—has its own nervous system that allows it to operate independently from the brain.

This enteric nervous system is known among researchers as the "gut brain." It controls organs including the pancreas and gall bladder via nerve connections. Hormones and neurotransmitters generated in the gut interact with organs such as the lungs and heart.

Like the brain and spinal cord, the gut is filled with nerve cells. The small intestine alone has 100 million neurons, roughly equal to the amount found in the spinal cord, says Michael Gershon, a professor at Columbia University.

The vagus nerve, which stretches down from the brainstem, is the main conduit between the brain and gut. But the gut doesn't just take orders from the brain.

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Why Syzygy Jan 2012 OP
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