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  • Having a gut feeling isn't just folklore.

  • You're literally feeling things from your gut and also other organs.

  • Yeah, it's pretty nifty.

  • Hey, everyone. Amy with you on DNews today.

  • And I've got a feeling you're gonna like this episode and odds are my gut is right on that.

  • So, let's start with the gut part of the whole gut feeling thing.

  • It's kinda gross to think about, but our bodies are teeming with bacteria.

  • This is the microbiome you've probably heard about.

  • Most of those bacteria live in the gastrointestinal tract, what we colloquially refer to as the gut.

  • These bacteria regulate digestion and metabolism, extract vitamins and nutrients from food, and program the body's immune system.

  • But there's so much more going on.

  • This complex bacterial ecosystem has prompted the gut to evolve a complex neural network called the enteric nervous system,

  • which is so ridiculously sophisticated it's sometimes called the second brain.

  • This network of over 100 million neurons can even function when it loses connection to the brain.

  • And the gut-brain connection goes both ways.

  • Gut bacteria produce neurochemicals that regulate basic physiological and mental processes, influencing things like memory and mood.

  • And the brain affects the microbiome.

  • Psychological stress can suppress certain helpful bacteria, making you more likely to get sick.

  • This two-way communication is part of a larger network of inter-body talk.

  • The brain connecting to the gut through neural networks and also your ability to recognize this connection is an example of something called interoception.

  • This is a sense of self identity beyond knowing what self-help books call the "real you."

  • It's the sensing of physiological signals that originate within the body and carry information to the brain.

  • Things like body temperature, breathlessness, and heart rate that ultimately give you an indication of states like hunger, thirst, pain, and anxiety.

  • Whether we're consciously aware that our body is sending these signals, they happen particularly when we're making risky decisions.

  • They send information to the brain and affect the way we make decisions so what you think of as a gut feeling is actually you responding to those subtle cues.

  • A recent study from the University of Cambridge took interoception into the real world and looked at its role in successful financial trading,

  • a career notorious for acting on gut instincts.

  • The researchers measured 18 male traders' abilities to detect subtle changes in their physiological state by heartbeat detection test⁠—

  • how well they could count their own resting heart rate without using a pulse point.

  • Admittedly, this is a small sample size, but these 18 men were better able to count their heart rate than non-traders.

  • And within the group, those with a higher score were also better traders who survived longer in the financial world, earning more money than their less body-aware peers.

  • So, in this case, interoceptive ability does correlate to good decisions in a risky environment, but correlation isn't causation.

  • Just because you can pretty accurately measure your heart rate doesn't mean you will make millions trading.

  • Other interoceptive studies have found people's ability to detect their heart rate increases during times of stress.

  • So the correlation from traders could just be an awareness honed from years in the industry.

  • But it's also the case that professionals practiced in the field can manage their stress better.

  • So traders might not be experiencing the stress reaction of an increased heart rate; or it could be something totally different.

  • Maybe successful traders of money use their downtime to work out, which could help them develop keener sense of body awareness.

  • In any case, the results do show a link between better body awareness to interoceptive cues and good decisions in risky environments.

  • So, maybe there's something to be said for trusting your gut.

  • And speaking of guts, our guts do a lot more for us than we think.

  • Wanna know more?

  • Trace has a video all about how scientists can actually program our gut bacteria to fight harmful infections.

  • Check it out here.

  • Medical researchers took it and reprogrammed the bacteria to fight P. aeruginosa.

  • This new synthetic E.coli is like a hunting dog tracking down P. aeruginosa and attacking its biofilms with enzymes in antimicrobial peptide. Boom! Double agent.

  • So how many of you guys tend to go with your gut? Let us know in the comments below.

  • Don't forget to like this video and subscribe so you never miss an episode of DNews.

Having a gut feeling isn't just folklore.

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Do Gut Feelings Actually Exist?

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    20000011 posted on 2022/02/08
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