Karen Frances Eng, ‘A scientist explores the mysteries of the gut-brain connection’, https://ideas.ted.com/a-scientist-explores-the-mysteries-of-the-gut-brain-connection/, TED.com – Technology, Entertainment and Design (Dec 6, 2017)
The second brain
Besides the central nervous system, which consists of those two organs, our bodies also contain the enteric nervous system, a two-layer lining with more than 100 million nerve cells that spans our guts from the esophagus to the rectum. The enteric nervous system has been called “the second brain,” and it’s in constant contact with the one in our skull. (…) Until recently, scientists thought the two systems communicated solely via hormones produced by enteroendocrine cells scattered throughout the gut’s lining. (…) But it turns out the process may be much more direct. (…) Charting the communication pathway between the gut and brain could someday lead us to new treatments for disorders and conditions. A number of diseases — autism, obesity, anorexia, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, PTSD and chronic stress — share a symptom known as altered visceral sensing, or a hyper- or hyposensitivity to gut stimuli.