12th April 2010 – The Brain in the Gut

In this talk, Dr Cath O’Neill from the University of Manchester Gastrointestinal Sciences Group, will talk about how the brain ‘talks’ to the gut to control eating and drinking.

Put simply, the brain controls everything we do. This includes things we are aware of such as movement, vision, hearing etc. and also unconscious behaviours such as keeping the heart beating, controlling blood pressure etc.

One of the most important things the brain does is to control eating behaviour.

Clearly, eating is one of the most important things we do and is often one of the most pleasurable. Much of our early evolution has been shaped by the struggle to obtain food and nature has given us strong mechanisms which encourage eating and storage of fat. However, these days, food is plentiful and unfortunately, we have much weaker mechanisms to prevent overeating. We will discuss how the brain starts a meal, the signals it sends to tell us to stop eating – and what happens when it all goes wrong!!

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