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The gut-brain axis in gastrointestinal and mental disorders
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a multifactorial disorder in which intrinsic factors (microbiota, genetics) and extrinsic factors (stress, lifestyle, nutrition) modify the gut-brain axis. The communication between the enteric nervous system, the “little brain” in our gut, and the central nervous system, the brain, is disturbed. This leads to gastrointestinal symptoms including abdominal discomfort and altered defecation patterns often going along with conditions like anxiety and depression, as well as chronic fatigue and pain syndromes.
Hocus-pocus: exploring autism by transforming skin cells into neurons
What is autism and how are we trying to learn more about it? In this talk, we will answer this question from different perspectives, from myths about autism and its representation in pop culture to autism genetics. We will try to understand why it is possible for particularities in our DNA to influence our behavior. We will also discuss new techniques in the field of molecular biology and genetics that allow us to make neurons from skin cells and grow them in a dish, and how this can help us better understand how our brains work.