The complex life of the gut: the second brain
THE COMPLEX LIFE OF THE GUT: THE SECOND BRAIN
Emeritus Professor Anwar Suleman Mall, University of Cape Town
Biologically we are a conglomeration of organ systems working in harmony with one another to ensure our survival. One such system is the gastrointestinal system or gut, a continuous tubular structure from the mouth to the anus, the complexity of which lies in its various organs, each with its own environment and function. Ultimately the function of the gut is to extract and absorb nutrients from digested food, and to expel waste material by defecation. Whilst the gut is vulnerable to infection by harmful bacteria, it also harbours large populations of commensal bacteria which play an important role in our survival. Even more intriguing is a gut-brain axis, a communication between the enteric nervous system and the brain, thus regulating behaviour and ensuring a sense of individual well-being. These lectures will focus on why the gut is regarded as ‘the second brain’.
- An overview of the gut and its structure: Why the ‘second brain’?
- Spit, bile, liver and mucus
- Mucus, pancreas, nutrition absorption and waste
- The gut microbiome and its association with mucus
- The gut-brain axis and concluding remarks
This course will be offered on the Microsoft Teams platform. Participants will be sent a link.
Damasio, A. 2006. Descarte’s Error. New York: Vintage Books.
Enders, G. 2014. GUT: The inside story of our body’s most under-rated organ. London: Scribe Publications.
Gershon, M. 1999. The Second Brain: A Ground-breaking New Understanding of Nervous Disorders of the Stomach and Intestine.New York: HarperCollins.