Congratulations! You have almost completed this course. In this module, we consider the inner workings of your gut. Most of our discussions deal with the function of specific regions of the gastrointestinal tract where complex foods are processed into solutes and nutrients that can be absorbed into the body for use as fuel. This “processing plant” acts in a unidirectional manner from mouth to anus and requires the coordinated secretions of acid, enzymes, bases, and fluids for its normal function. What is unusual about the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and its accessory organs, salivary glands, liver, and pancreas, is that their coordinated actions occur in a timely manner without conscious input from the brain. Instead the gut integrates its diverse actions by locally produced chemicals (hormones and paracrines) as well as by the coordinated actions of the enteric nervous system, a subdivision of the autonomic nervous system. In the last lesson of this module, we consider normal motility of the gut, as well as perturbations that result in gastrointestinal distress such as vomiting and diarrhea. The things to do this week are to watch the 4 videos, to answer the in-video questions, to read the notes, and to complete the gastrointestinal problem set. For this topic, the most effective approach will be to follow the sequence of videos as we move along the gastrointestinal tract. The notes provide a more detailed summary of the video lectures. Again, please use the resource (videos and/or notes) that works best for you. However, we encourage you to complete the problem sets as both your understanding and retention will increase with application of the new learned information. Hope you enjoy the week!

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