ALFRED PASIEKA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ALFRED PASIEKA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Computer artwork of stomach, brain and colon, depicting the enteric nervous system (ENS) or intrinsic nervous system, one of the main divisions of the autonomic nervous system and consisting of a mesh-like system of neurons that governs the function of the gastrointestinal system. It operates independently of the brain and the spinal cord and its study is in the focus of neurogastroenterology. The ENS is also named "second brain" or "the brain in the gut" and is in permant contact with the central nervous system in the spinal cord and the brain. The ENS is reported to play an important role regarding gastrointestinal disorders like colitis and irritable bowel and syndrome.
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