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12th May

Team Maastricht presents - The Second Brain in our Stomach with guest speakers: Veerle Melotte & Nathalie Vaes

Have you ever thought that you felt your happy or said feelings with your gut? Your anxiety or excitement with a stomachache ? Or felt butterflies because you fell in love ? You are completely right, that is because or gut harbors “our second brain”. This brain consist of about 200-600 billions of nerve and glial cells that regulate intestinal functions like intestinal motility, blood flow and the uptake of nutrients. Our second brain is also in close contact with our brain, which is why they can influence if we are in a good or bad mood. To date, scientist around the world are investigating how this brain-second brain crosstalk works.. We in our lab have discovered that our “second brain” is important in the development/progression of colorectal cancer because the second brain “talks” to cancer cells.

Fun facts:
- Our gut harbors a brain of its own: i.e. the enteric nervous system: our so-called “second brain”
- Stress can mess with your gut
- Our second brain is as large as a cat’s brain
- Our second brain drives intestinal functioning
- The second brain produces more serotonin, one of our feel good hormones, than the brain
- The gut-brain axis represents a “telephone line” via which the brain and gut talk to each other.
- You are what you eat…

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