“Gut Course”

I just finished teaching my annual “Gut Course,” also known as Human Biology 551, at the University of Washington.  This is something I do every year.  Although the work I do at STRA is my true passion, I like maintaining this connection to my past life as a Gastroenterologist, and connections I get to make with the students and faculty.

 While teaching the next generation of doctors  is serious work, I do like to have a bit of fun along the way.  I always start the class by telling my students that the Gastrointestinal Tract is the most important organ system of the body based on several simple, self-evident facts:

  • First, all other organs of the body metabolize nutrients for energy and cell growth. In the absence of those nutrients, these organs starve. The GI tract is the principal site of intake of nutrients. The evolution and function of the GI tract ensures the maximal absorption of nutrients and water to support life’s functions. Before the advent of modern agriculture and Whole Foods, one’s next meal and drink of water were often in doubt.
  • Second, an M.I.T. Media Lab study in the early 1990s, which looked at how computer technology could reproduce the sensation of bodily pleasure, clearly showed that the human body was happiest when something was either entering or leaving it. The GI tract is a major bodily portal of both entry and exit.
  • Third, we make the observation that when one’s bowels are not happy, there is an extremely high likelihood the person is not happy.

Here’s hoping your bowels are happy!

~ by brucesilverstein on May 1, 2009.

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