New insights into how the ‘first brain’ works in the gut

by Flinders University New research explains how the nervous system in the gut, known as the enteric nervous system (ENS) causes propulsion along the gut, highlighting how similar it behaves to other neural networks in the brain and spinal cord. The study, led by Professor Nick Spencer at Flinders University, maintains that the ENS in the gut is the ‘first brain’ and that it evolved long before the brain as we know it, in humans. The new findings uncover major new information about how the many thousands of neurons in the ENS communicate with each other to cause the muscle layers … Continue reading New insights into how the ‘first brain’ works in the gut

Poseidon’s wrath

Vanished beneath the waves in 373 BCE, Helike is a byword for thinking about disaster, for ancients and moderns alike. Guy D Middleton is a visiting fellow in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at Newcastle University. His books include Understanding Collapse: Ancient History and Modern Myths (2017) and Collapse and Transformation: The Late Bronze Age to Early Iron Age in the Aegean  Edited bySam Dresser One night nearly 2,500 years ago, the people of Helike, a city in the northern Peloponnese, were in their homes. Perhaps they were winding down with a glass of watered wine or already sleeping after spending … Continue reading Poseidon’s wrath