An Integrative Approach to Optimizing Neural Function

Exploring the Brain–Gut Connection

Authored by: Nancy E. White , Leonard M. Richards

Handbook of Clinical QEEG and Neurotherapy

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138802643
eBook ISBN: 9781315754093
Adobe ISBN: 9781317623083


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Neuroscience, as with most of the life sciences, continues its advance toward a more systemic approach to both research and treatment, one that is slowly displacing the linear thinking that has long prevailed with a paradigm that is impacting how we might evaluate, diagnose and treat brain function. This new thinking urges us to go beyond symptom toward cause, thereby plunging us into a web of intricate and sometimes mind-boggling interactions between the brain and the physical system-of-systems that we call the body. One important interaction is called the Brain–Gut Axis and a growing body of literature describes the nature, functioning and relevance of this complex bidirectional signaling process mediated by the Autonomic Nervous System. How the messages coursing this communication system impact brain function and ultimately affect mood and behavior involves many participants, such as the massive colony of mainly friendly bacteria that manage how the gut works, and the intricate nerve pathways that deliver the messages back and forth between gut and brain. The quality and type of nutrients that travel through the digestive system and how those nutrients are processed also affect brain function, while chronic stress not only affects brain function directly, but indirectly by its effect on gut function. Tools are available to assess the condition of the brain–gut relationship and treat to normalize its impact on brain function and behavior. By describing an integrative neuroregulation practice, the reader can get an idea of how to broaden the scope of a practice to include the use of these tools.

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