Describe gastric emptying (40% of marks) and outline its regulation (60% of marks).

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College Answer

Candidates were required to provide a description of gastric emptying (40% marks). Although the question showed the allocation of marks, many candidates did not provide sufficient detail for this section. This required some description of what gastric emptying is (the co-ordinated emptying of chyme from the stomach into the duodenum).

Better answers provided detail regarding the process of gastric emptying in the fed and fasted state and differentiated between liquids, solids, carbohydrate, protein and fats. Factors regulating emptying included an outline of peristaltic waves, the basal electrical rhythm and its modulation, the migratory motor complex (MMC) and its modulation, neural input, stretch and hormonal control.

Many candidates erred by answering the question "the regulation of gastric secretions" rather than the question (the regulation of gastric emptying). Although they scored well for hormonal control, they missed out on marks for the other factors relevant to the regulation of gastric emptying.

Discussion