The concept that the gut and the brain are closely connected, and that this interaction plays an important part not only in gastrointestinal function but also in certain feeling states and in intuitive decision making, is deeply rooted in our language. Recent neurobiological insights into this gut–brain crosstalk have revealed a complex, bidirectional communication system that not only ensures the proper maintenance of gastrointestinal homeostasis and digestion but is likely to have multiple effects on affect, motivation and higher cognitive functions, including intuitive decision making. Moreover, disturbances of this system have been implicated in a wide range of disorders, including functional and inflammatory gastrointestinal disorders, obesity and eating disorders.

Tremendous progress has been made in our understanding of the bidirectional crosstalk between the brain and the digestive system. Still, several important questions remain to be addressed. What role does gut to brain signaling have in brain development during early life and what part does it play in adults?

To learn more about the biology of gut-brain communication, download The Emerging Biology of Gut Brain Communication