Gut in­stinct? It’s sat-nav to help find food

Daily Mail - - News - By Colin Fer­nan­dez Science Correspondent

GUT in­stinct may amount to more than just a hunch or feel­ing, say sci­en­tists.

Our stom­achs can help play a vi­tal role in seek­ing out food, the re­searchers have found.

The body’s big­gest nerve, the va­gus, runs from the stom­ach to the brain and it has long been known that it sig­nals to us when we are hun­gry.

But Univer­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia sci­en­tists sug­gest this has evolved to be a form of sat-nav. This ‘gut-brain axis’ may help an­i­mals and hu­mans re­mem­ber where they ate by di­rect­ing sig­nals to the hip­pocam­pus, the brain’s mem­ory cen­tre.

Re­searcher Scott Kanoski said stud­ies of rats show the stom­ach has an im­por­tant role in help­ing us find our way around. He said: ‘When an­i­mals find and eat a meal, for in­stance, the va­gus nerve is ac­ti­vated and this global po­si­tion­ing sys­tem is en­gaged.’

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