Our stomach is a wonderful organ that turns what we eat into the nutrients and energy we need to maintain our health. At first glance, it might appear as a simple extendable muscular bag, but it has many sophisticated divisions of labour and functions that continue to puzzle researchers.
The stomach is lined with three layers of muscles. When food enters the stomach, a series of biological processes kick in to extract nutrients while continuously moving the content down the gut. The movement comes through gentle, rhythmic contractions, which is not surprising given there are three layers of muscle in the human stomach.
Some of the earliest writings we have about the stomach, intestines, and colon come from Galen. Galen saw the stomach as an animate being: it could feel its own emptiness and generate the sensation of hunger, break up food, and carefully separate useful nutrients from the chaff. The intestines and colon, on the other hand, were more passive, relying on their physical attributes of length and thickness to absorb nutrients and contain waste. In contrast, Avicenna was much less concerned about descriptive anatomy.
Punch’s 1841 reflections on “stomachology” seem as a good-enough start as any to reflect on that much-ignored organ. After all, most people today don’t pay attention to their stomach unless hungry or sick, although the social pain of obesity inflicts a particularly acute form of misery.
You're not imagining things—that breakup heartbreak and those presentation jitters really do mess with your stomach.
A stomach ache can strike for all kinds of reasons, from contaminated food to chronic disease. It passes, sure, but the pain, headache, diarrhea, vomiting and other classic symptoms of stomach flu ensure a crummy couple of days.
Our own stomachs may be something of a dark mystery to most of us, but new research is revealing the surprising ways in which our guts exert control over our mood and appetite.
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.
Better understanding the communication between the gut and the brain could help reveal the causes of and treatments for a range of ailments, and provide diagnostic clues for doctors.
Digestion under a microscope.
But is that actually the best thing to drink when you’re queasy? Take two minutes and find out.
Abdominal bloating is not just uncomfortable, it wrecks that swimsuit look. It is often a sign of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) - the most common condition seen by UK gastroenterologists. As many as one in five adults in this country, mainly women, will have this possibly painful problem at any time. If you are bloated...
There is a superhighway between the brain and GI system that holds great sway over humans.
Michael lays bare the mysteries of the digestive system - and reveals a complexity and intelligence in the human gut that science is only just beginning to uncover.
The pain started in the dark hours of the morning, she told the doctor in the emergency room: a twisting cramp in her lower abdomen, as if she had to move her bowels. She went to the bathroom, which seemed to help. But when she woke up, the pain was still there.
A century ago, a few isolated studies found a link between diet and mental health. Now, it’s emerging that the bacteria inside us could be a crucial link between the food we eat and how we feel.
A meeting between Bill Gates and Boston researchers four years ago has led to the development of a multi-dose capsule that, researchers said, could solve one of medicine’s more vexing problems: delivering oral drugs over an extended period of time with one dose.
Lafayette discovered she was suffering from a magnesium deficiency, a side effect of the drug. She also learned that PPIs can cause not just deficiencies of nutrients but other side effects, such as an increased risk for infections.
If you’ve eaten a fabulous meal recently, the experience was pleasant, comfortable and pain-free because your stomach and intestinal system worked seamlessly to move the food along and eventually absorb it.
Our gastrointestinal tract, or gut, is sometimes described as our “second brain”. This is because it is controlled by its own complex nervous system comprising hundreds of millions of neurons – more than all the nerves in your spinal cord.
The gut and brain talk to each other through nerve signals, the release of gut or stress hormones, and other pathways. We have long known that emotions can directly alter gut function.
Could changing your gut bacteria alleviate depression and anxiety?
Pay attention to your gut-brain connection – it may contribute to your anxiety and digestion problems
Research has shown that having a diverse microbiome – particularly your gut bacteria – has benefits not only for your digestive health, but many other organ systems, and even your brain. That has led to the idea that treatments targeting the microbiome may be able to improve our mental health.
There’s surprisingly little research on diastasis recti, which affects at least 60 percent of postpartum women. As with many other postpartum complications that affect women, there is little good research on the condition. Women aren’t routinely screened for DR at the one standard postpartum visit that occurs around six weeks after birth. And if they do get a diagnosis, they are often told that core work — for instance, tons of crunches — will tone the tummy and thus, close the gap.
But core work done improperly or alone won’t necessarily fix the problem. In fact, it can even make things worse.
Butterflies in your stomach before a big presentation is a familiar experience, but surprisingly, scientists don’t yet know exactly how this happens. The gut-brain axis – the brain’s influence on the gastrointestinal tract and the other way around – is now a subject of keen scientific interest.
It took me two months to fix it.
We're finally starting to understand which foods are causing tummy troubles for so many, and the culprits challenge everything we thought we knew about healthy eating
Can you figure out what is wrong with a 43-year-old woman who suddenly develops abdominal pain so powerful that it wakes her up from sleep?
The emerging and surprising view of how the enteric nervous system in our bellies goes far beyond just processing the food we eat.
Some researchers believe that the microbiome may play a role in regulating how people think and feel.
We tend to think of our internal organs as specialists, highly refined machines that work 24/7 at specific tasks. The one exception is the brain: the ultimate supercomputer that can make a multitude of decisions and manage our behavior with incredible speed and efficiency.
Now research shows that the brain doesn’t have a monopoly on intelligence. The heart and stomach, for example, are fully equipped to do some thinking of their own. And sometimes they’re giving the brain orders instead of taking them.
The "gut brain," formally known as the enteric nervous system, is made up of some 500 million nerve cells, as many as there are in a cat's brain. They help to control muscular contractions in the gut as well as the secretions of glands and cells. And they help balance hunger and satiety, or the sense of being full, communicating those states to the big brain.
For acute management of dyspepsia in the emergency department, antacids alone may provide the fastest relief, but it is short-lived.
The addition of lidocaine (“the GI cocktail”) does not provide an additional clinical benefit and has risks of harm.
The “pink lady” or “GI cocktail”, a combination of an antacid and viscous lidocaine, is both much loved and much hated in emergency medicine. Some practitioners use it as a matter of routine.
"Though a range of historians and cultural critics have been interested in the stomach, diet, and digestion, tracing its various facets from the ancient to the modern world, Ian Miller’s focus on gastric illness offers a new intervention. Highlighting the specific turning points of medical construction in diagnosis and treatment over a broad period, from the nineteenth century to the Second World War, the book is organized into coherent periods of change...A very solid contribution to the history of medicine and surgery, as well as military medicine, and gives us much to think about regarding both soldiers' experiences and psychosomatic disorders."Ana Carden-Coyne, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Winter 2015
The brain in your head and the one in your gut are always exchanging info. But how do they do it? Neuroscientist Diego Bohórquez is trying to find out the answers.
Scientists often debate whether irritable bowel syndrome is a mental or physical issue. That’s not much help for those who suffer from it.
While adrenaline contracts most of the gut wall to slow digestion, it relaxes a specific gut muscle called the “external anal sphincter”, which is why some people report a pressing need to visit a bathroom when they’re nervous. This reduction in blood flow through the gut in turn produces the oddly characteristic “butterflies” feeling in the pit of your stomach. It senses this shortage of blood, and oxygen, so the stomach’s own sensory nerves are letting us know it’s not happy with the situation.
Mainstream medicine is coming around on the notion of treating anxiety with food.
A Western diet promotes unhealthy gut bacteria in children.
“Organoids” derived from stem cells help show how embryos develop and why adults get certain diseases. They may even be used as treatments.
Ian Miller's book aims to fill a gap in the literature, since, he argues, we lack accounts of the modern constructions of gastric disorders. It also aims to show that the stomach has been imbued with high emotional and cultural significance, acting as a rhetorical site of professional identity, rather than being ‘just’ a medical artefact.
In 1822, a surgeon encountered a patient with a bullet hole in his stomach—and spent more than a decade looking through it.
Beaumont, an army doctor with only a few years of medical training as an apprentice, was an eager student of physiology. He began his experiments by pushing bits of food into St. Martin’s fistula on a spoon and monitoring the various lengths of time it took to break them down.
Since I started trudging up hills and around parks four years ago, I have become healthier, slimmer and sunnier – and sometimes I even enjoy it.
There is an intricate grid of pacemaker cells (called the interstitial cells of Cajal) within the muscles of the stomach. They generate a rhythmic bioelectrical wave that regulates when and how the muscles contract.
It's round, bloated, painful—and maybe comes with a side of diarrhea. Here's how to uncover the problem and find the solution that will keep your gut happy.
All of us get a little gassy or stopped up from time to time or feel the burn after a giant Mexican dinner. But there’s a point when these symptoms aren't normal and could even be a sign of something more serious.
The stomach is the widest part of the digestive system. It not only digests food, it also stores it. According to the BBC, the stomach can hold a bit more than a quart (1 liter) of food at once.
The stomach is an organ of the digestive system, specialized in the accumulation and digestion of food. Its anatomy is quite complex; it consists of four parts, two curvatures and receives its blood supply mainly from the celiac trunk. Innervation is provided via the vagus nerves and the celiac plexus. Thanks to the stomach, every human is technically capable of corroding metal and picking up new hobbies, such as competitive eating. These are possible due to the extremely potent hydrochloric acid and the expandable nature of this organ.