In the dark, oxygen-free zone of our large intestines, a vast community of life is flourishing. Scientists say there are more than 100 trillion microbes living there, and if you gathered them all together, they would weigh more than our brains.
In his new book, "The Mind-Gut Connection," Dr. Emeran Mayer explains how these microscopic organisms insert themselves into the running dialogue between the brain and the gut. In the process, he says, they help determine how stressed out we get, when we get sick and how quickly we recover.
在 Emeran Mayer博士所著的《肠脑连接（The Mind-Gut Connection）》一书中，他解释了这些微小生物群如何参与肠脑对话。他认为，微生物确定我们感知承受的压力、患病时间以及康复快慢。
Mayer is the director of the UCLA Oppenheimer Family Center for Neurobiology of Stress and the co-director of the CURE: Digestive Diseases Research Center. He has been studying interactions between the gut and the mind for 30 years.
Mayer是加州大学洛杉矶分校应激神经生物学 Oppenheimer家庭中心主任和消化疾病研究中心（CURE）副主任。 30年来，他一直在研究肠道和大脑之间相互作用。
Part of what inspired him to write the book was the lack of concrete information about how the gut microbiome affects our mental state.
"People have written some very speculative and provocative review articles about how microbes might regulate human emotions," said Mayer, a gastroenterologist. "What I have tried to do is be critical and extract what we know so far and speculate about what this could imply."
Mayer spoke to the Los Angeles Times about the tiny creatures that may have an outsize influence on our physical and psychological health.
What's so special about the gut?
The gut is a much more complicated system than most people realize. People think it is this machine that processes, transports and absorbs foods. In reality it is an extensive sensory system, signaling system and immune system.