During his talk, Shivaji described how brain and gut maintains a constant and complicated communication which could determine our emotional and even cognitive performance.
Some of the interesting points include:
- Gut communicates with brain mainly though neural afferents, immune signalling and endocrine secretions. This makes sense, considering that gut contain 200-600 million neurons, has the largest collection of immune cells and commensals, and is the largest endocrine organ in the body.
- The overall state of gut is represented by brain in complex ways, and often associate with emotional states during memory formation. Thus our emotion and gut state become linked, as seen when we have a 'sick feel' while having stomach upset. Experimental evidence suggest Insula ('gut state') and Orbitofrontal Cortex/Ant Cingulate cortex ('mental state') to play a significant role in this.
- Gut microflora when disturbed are associated with poor cognitive performance in the individuals.
- Presence of taste receptors in the jejunum and distal colon could serve some important function that needs further research.