Wednesday, August 24, 2005

There's a brain in your gut, too, smart guy.

Today's NYT has an interesting piece on the enteric nervous system, which is in charge of running your gut:
Two brains are better than one. At least that is the rationale for the close - sometimes too close - relationship between the human body's two brains, the one at the top of the spinal cord and the hidden but powerful brain in the gut known as the enteric nervous system.

The connection between the brains lies at the heart of many woes, physical and psychiatric. Ailments like anxiety, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers and Parkinson's disease manifest symptoms at the brain and the gut level.

Can MS-related demyelination can affect the enteric nervous system? If so: yuk.
Link (free reg. req'd)

1 comment:

Beth said...

Interesting question! There are plenty of nerves in the peripheral nervous system that are myelinated, but it appears that MS is a disease that attacks myelinated nerves in the CNS (central nervous system). The brain and spinal cord are protected from the rest of the body by the blood brain barrier. For some reason in those with MS, there is a high amount of antibodies in the CNS. One theory is that there is a breakdown of the blood brain barrier (it could occur in those with frequent migraines) that allows immune cells to be exposed to CNS myelin, which it normally wouldn't be exposed to.
Here is a good website on the difference between CNS myelination disorders and pheripheral myelination disorder.

Good question! Made me think!
Great blog too!