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Sensation, Reward, and Gut-Brain Pathways

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de Araujo, I. (2023). Sensation, Reward, and Gut-Brain Pathways. Talk presented at McGill University: Precision Convergence Webinar Series. Montreal, Canada. 2023-05-05.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000D-6BF4-8
Gastrointestinal organs convey mixed messages to the central nervous system, which range from mechan- ical stretch to nutritional value. The presentation aims at addressing the question of how these multimodal signals aris- ing from the gut may be decoded by brain neurons. In particular it describes a unique aspect of the functional neuroana- tomy of food reinforcement, namely, the ability of gut nutrient sensors to directly activate the brain's subcortical reward circuitry. Activation of subcortical circuitries results in the bypassing of the cortical networks that mediate overt, con- scious insights into the sensory-hedonic qualities of foods. The implications for our understanding of phenomena such as satiety and pleasure, and the conscious perception of body states, will be discussed.