How do the digestive and nervous systems interact?

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The digestive system actually has its own nervous system called the 'enteric nervous system' (ENS) that acts almost entirely independently of the brain. The ENS has roughly as many neurons as the spinal cord (~90 million) contained in plexuses that surround the the entire gastrointestinal tract. These include both sensory as well as motor neurons. Together they detect changes in the gut (as a result of ingesting food/drink) and regulate secretion and motility. Although the ENS is under autonomic influence - e.g. increased parasympathetic tone during sleep - the actual influence is limited. In fact the ENS will continue to function normally without any sympathetic/parasympathetic input at all.


you go poop with the digestive system
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