Second Brain: The Scientific Basis of Gut Instinct and a Groundbreaking New Understanding: of Nervous Disorders of the Stomach and Intestine

Overview

Dr. Michael D. Gershon's groundbreaking work clearly demonstrates that the human gut actually has a brain of its own. This remarkable scientific breakthrough offers fascinating proof that "gut instinct" is biological, a function of the second brain.

An alarming number of people suffer from heartburn, nausea, abdominal pain, cramps, diarrhea, constipation, or related problems. Often thought to be caused by a "weakness" of the mind, these conditions may actually be a reflection of...

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Overview

Dr. Michael D. Gershon's groundbreaking work clearly demonstrates that the human gut actually has a brain of its own. This remarkable scientific breakthrough offers fascinating proof that "gut instinct" is biological, a function of the second brain.

An alarming number of people suffer from heartburn, nausea, abdominal pain, cramps, diarrhea, constipation, or related problems. Often thought to be caused by a "weakness" of the mind, these conditions may actually be a reflection of a disorder in the second brain. The second brain, located in the bowel, normally works smoothly with the brain in the head, enabling the head-brain to concentrate on the finer pursuits of life while the gut-brain attends to the messy business of digestion. A breakdown in communication between the two brains can lead to stomach and intestinal trouble, causing sufferers great abdominal grief and—too often—labeling them as neurotic complainers.

Dr. Gershon's research into the second brain provides understanding for those who suffer from gut-related ailments and offers new insight into the origin, extent, and management.

The Second Brain is the culmination of thirty years of research. It is an extraordinary contribution to the understanding of gastrointestinal illnesses, as well as a fascinating glimpse into hoe our gut really works.

"...examines how the connection between the mind and the gut the 'second brain,' works and what can occur when when communication between the two is disrupted...based on thirty years of research."

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Editorial Reviews

Jacqueline Boone
...[A] persuasiveimpassioned andat timesdownright lyrical case for the counterintuitive notion that 'there is a brain in the bowel'....[presents] an often grim and complex topic in a surprisingly witty and engaging manner... —The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Gershon, who has been called the father of neurogastroenterology and is professor of anatomy and cell biology at New York's Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, has devoted his career to basic research on the nervous system of the gut. His fascination with this "second brain" is boundless, and he strives mightily to share his enthusiasm. With analogies and simple line drawings, good humor and a story-teller's love of character and plot, he describes how knowledge about the little-known enteric nervous system has been uncovered. To appreciate the wonder of this second brain, one must grasp the complexity of the system it runs, and Gershon tackles that subject in considerable detail--indeed, probably more detail than the general reader requires. While the particulars of research conducted in his and other neurobiologists' labs is also likely to overwhelm the nonbiologist, general readers will appreciate the implications of that research. As understanding emerges of how the second brain controls the behavior of the bowel, real progress is coming in the prevention, treatment and control of the belly's woes. To millions of sufferers of such diseases as heartburn and irritable bowel syndrome, this will be welcome information. (Oct.)
Jacqueline Boone
...[A] persuasive, impassioned and, at times, downright lyrical case for the counterintuitive notion that 'there is a brain in the bowel'....[presents] an often grim and complex topic in a surprisingly witty and engaging manner... -- The New York Times Book Review
Kirkus Reviews
The nature of a so-called second brain in the gut is revealed in exquisite detail by a neurogastroenterologist who has spent some 30 years researching the subject. Gershon, professor of anatomy and cell biology at New York's Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, is enthralled by the sophistication of the enteric nervous system. He calls this system, which operates the bowel, a second brain, pointing out that it contains all the classes of neurotransmitters found in the brain. For nonbiologists entering his world, a whole new vocabulary with terms like neural crest, 5-HT1P receptor, and functional ligand must be acquired. While the terminology can be daunting and the exhaustive details sometimes overwhelming, Gershon has wisely included lots of clear line drawings to help the novice understand the nervous system and the complexities of the digestive system that it runs. Happily, he also tells his story in human terms, paying homage to those whose discoveries enabled his own, good-humoredly sharing the exhilaration of jousting with colleagues over his theories, and generously describing the skills and inventiveness of researchers in his own laboratory and those of other neurobiologists. As this research sheds light on how the "brain in the belly" controls the behavior of the bowel, progress can be expected in the prevention, treatment, and control of gastrointestinal disease. When patients present with gastrointestinal problems for which doctors can find no specific cause, too often they are dismissed as neurotic complainers. That answers may be found in the enteric nervous system offers new hope for the 20 percent of Americans diagnosed with functional bowel disorders. An authoritativework that makes abundantly clear the value of basic research; unfortunately, it's encumbered with an intimidating amount of technical detail that may discourage interested readers.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060182526
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/1/1998
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 314
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael D. Gershon M.D., is chairman of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons at the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City.

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