X-Message-Number: 14151
Date: Sun, 23 Jul 2000 09:54:14 -0700
From: Peter Merel <>
Subject: Enteric nervous system

Hank Hirsch writes,

>The enteric nervous system is a motor (as contrasted to sensory) system
>which controls the movements of the gastrointestinal tract - mainly the
>small intestine. Most of its activity is reflex. It is not involved in
>consciousness as suggested by the fact that it is innervated by the
>autonomic ("automatic") nervous system. For a brief clear description of
>the enteric nervous system, take a look at Vander, Sherman and Luciano,
>"Human Physiology", 8'th edn. pp 559, 566, and 567. This is the book I use
>for my undergraduate physiology course, and it is very good for basic

I guess the question could be resolved by reference to people who've
received grievous injury to the ENS. I've never heard of any aphasias
or personality disorders in people who've had large amounts of bowel
removed - has anyone? If not, it's a fair bet that guts aren't involved
in consciousness.

Peter Merel.

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