• The Second Brain

  • A Groundbreaking New Understanding of Nervous Disorders of the Stomach and Intestine
  • By: Michael Gershon
  • Narrated by: Peter Berkrot
  • Length: 15 hrs and 46 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (39 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Dr. Gershon’s groundbreaking book fills the gap between what you need to know - and what your doctor has time to tell you.

Dr. Michael Gershon has devoted his career to understanding the human bowel (the stomach, esophagus, small intestine, and colon). His 30 years of research have led to an extraordinary rediscovery: Nerve cells in the gut that act as a brain. This "second brain" can control our gut all by itself. Our two brains - the one in our head and the one in our bowel - must cooperate. If they do not, then there is chaos in the gut and misery in the head - everything from "butterflies" to cramps, from diarrhea to constipation. Dr. Gershon's work has led to radical new understandings about a wide range of gastrointestinal problems including gastroenteritis, nervous stomach, and irritable bowel syndrome. The Second Brain represents a quantum leap in medical knowledge and is already benefiting patients whose symptoms were previously dismissed as neurotic or "it's all in your head". 

©1998, 2019 Michael Gershon (P)2019 HarperAudio

Critic Reviews

“Persuasive, impassioned...hopeful news [for those] suffering from functional bowel disease.” (New York Times Book Review)

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What listeners say about The Second Brain

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This really is science

The author shares his expertise in a pretty cogent way. If you've had any early college level anatomy, this book should be accessible and entertaining. I greatly appreciate the emphasis on experimental reasoning in his approach. That is how science education should be.

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First Khan Academy Human Biology

Great book! I have a BS in Computer Science. I am of average intelligence. But very interested in science. The content is easy to understand after going through Khan Academy (free oneline) science human biology neurons. Then search other items as needed; like serotonin. The Second Brain content is so amazing. This book provides a launching pad for a hundred different studies. So, if there is something you want to explore, jot it down on first listen. What an adventure!

2 people found this helpful

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Subtitle misleading

I was wanting a better understanding of how the enteric nervous system works... and how it interacts with the pns and sns; but i do have a better understanding of where we are in the field, the development of neurobiology as a legitimate discipline, a lot of embryology and a lot about a fatal birth defect. Overall, not bad, just not what i was expecting given the subtitle.

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Very deep, yet fairly charming

I'm fairly intelligent but never attended College or Uni. I'm fairly literate and possess a descent knowledge of anatomy from upper track Bio in High School. That and I studied French long enough to become fluent so I can grasp some Latin terminology. Also, I work as an Engineering Technician (STEM) so I'm accustomed to scientific methodology.

All that said, this was a fascinating audiobook but it was quite alot. I was able to understand it but it was like eating raw meat, even with my background. I won't knock it however because the author has a good sense of humor and he's quite personal at times. He told the story of his mom in the hospital and how the doctors could have spared her life had they listened to him regarding proton pump inhibitors. Yes, this was a very heady book but Michael reminds you now and then that although he's super bright, he's also human.

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Better read than listened to.

This is a wonderful book but is better read than listened to. There are way too many technical terms for a common person like me to look up. I will definitely get a kindle or a hard copy on this because I find it worthy to go through, only in another way.

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Comprehensive entertainment!

I really learned to appreciate the work of the research itself. Not being in the medical field myself, I was happy to find that the technical nature of the subject didn't keep me from understanding and being able to appreciate the unfolding story. I have family and friends who suffer from gastrointestinal issues. I truly feel that listening to this book will aid in my ability to empathize with and more fully understand their problems. I look forward to learning more about the continuing research. Great work!

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#MyNonFictionAddiction💯🥇🙋📖

Despite the concerted & focused, 🤓, erudite & interest in this unique; yet still a minority topic among many; it is my sincere recommend advice to get through Neurology first; then be confident in a potential that lays in the future!👌 Unless in the future you are laying IN 6 inches or WITHIN 6FT feet. IT truly is ALL in ones 'perspective' AND perspicacity.💯🙋🗣️🤳 😎🤓👏👏👏💅🙋🍒

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Very long but The second half wasnt needed for me

Definitely a great insight into the inner workings of our bodies and how it effects our minds.

The second half of the book is for an audience much more well advanced in the field of study. Unfortunately, I am not and did not understand most of the information being presented so I felt that the book began to drag.

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  • Mo Mar
  • 11-08-19

Great story

Very well narrated. A pleasure to listen to. It's like a journey through your gigestivesystem.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Slywolff
  • 06-02-22

Fascinating but turgid

Turgid might be the wrong word to use, it to me comes across as very very very technical, lots of words someone in this science area may well clearly understand but I am a layman.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-18-22

Informative, humorous and the reader is fantastic

This audiobook has been such a joy to digest (excuse the pun).
It is so well explained that you come away with a vast amount of knowledge, even if you aren't familiar with much medical terminology.
I was often laughing hysterically at many humourous metaphors and stories that Michael included.
If there was an option for 6 stars, I would select it.

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