Welcome to the Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter.
Here is what you will find in this issue:
1. What's New at Neuroscience for Kids
2. Neuroscience for Kids Site of the Month
3. Neuroscience for Kids Drawing Contest - One More Month
4. Seeing, Moving and Thinking Again
5. Flealess in Seattle
6. Summer Research Programs for High School Students
7. Media Alert
8. Treasure Trove of Brain Trivia
9. Support Neuroscience for Kids
10. How to Stop Your Subscription
HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM NEUROSCIENCE FOR KIDS!
A. December Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived
B. New Neuroscience Center at Boston University
C. More Products Recalled Because of Lead
D. Human Olfaction: Nothing to Sniff At
E. Site of Month Selection Archive
In December, 12 new figures were added and 26 pages were modified.
In The Museum of Scientifically Accurate Fabric Brain Art, developmental psychologist Marjorie Taylor and psychiatrist Karen Norberg use PET and fMRI brain scans as inspiration to create beautiful pieces of art. Quilting, applique, embroidery, beadwork, knitting and crocheting methods are used to make the artwork.
The web site is really a "blog" with photographs of the art where you can
read and post comments about each piece. There are only seven examples of
this work on the web site and I hope Dr. Taylor and Dr. Norberg are
working on more.
All entries must be received by February 1, 2007. Students from all
countries are welcome to enter the drawing contest.
The BMES research I heard about was incredible! Scientists at BMES are working to create implantable devices (microelectronics) that connect to the nervous system. These new mini-machines should help people with neurological disorders. The three main devices under development at BMES are a:
A. Retinal Prosthesis: a device implanted into the eye to help people who are blind. The device converts visual images into signals that stimulate the retina. These signals are then sent to the brain to create perception.
B. Neuromuscular Prosthesis: a device implanted into a limb and brain to help people who are paralyzed. Sensors and stimulators are placed into the brain and on muscles to help people who have had a stroke or have suffered a spinal cord injury.
C. Cortical Prosthesis: a device implanted into the brain to help people who have suffered brain damage. The scientists are currently focusing their work on the hippocampus and are trying to develop a device that will communicate with neurons important for memory.
At the meeting, Dr. Humanyun showed a video of one patient who was blind for 30 years and then was implanted with a retinal prosthesis. After the patient recovered from surgery, he was able to "see" the difference between a cup, plate and knife. This may not be difficult for you to do, but this is a fantastic accomplishment for someone who could not see anything for 30 years! Further research and development are sure to create even better devices.
Read more about the work at BMES on their web site at:
But some dogs (and cats) do have flea problems. And do you know where people have looked to solve the flea problem? Neuroscience, of course!
Fipronil and imidacloprid are two popular insecticides used to control fleas on pets. Just a few drops of these chemicals on a pet's back will kill fleas for up to a month. Both fipronil and imidacloprid attack a flea's nervous system. Fipronil interferes with the GABA neurotransmitter system and imidacloprid interferes with the acetylcholine (nicotinic receptor) neurotransmitter system. When an insect comes in contact with either chemical, its nervous system is affected and it dies.
The amount of chemical used to kill insects does not appear to be dangerous to pets or to humans. However, you can get these products only from a veterinarian. For more information about fipronil and imidacloprid, see:
A. Undergraduate and High School Summer Research Program in the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (Omaha, NE)
B. Summer Program in the Neurological Sciences at the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, MD)
C. CURE project at Oregon Health & Science University (Portland, OR)
Science Academy at the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia,
B. The December 11, 2006, issue of Newsweek magazine has several neuroscience articles including "Peering in the Future," "Minds and Magnets," "Stem Cells Are Where It's At," and "A Six-Foot Lab Rat."
C. The January 2007 issue of Discover magazine has several neuroscience-related articles including an interview artificial intelligence expert Marvin Minsky, "Consciousness in a Cockroach," and a list of the top six "Mind & Brain Stories of 2006."
D. "Better Ways to Target Pain" by Gary Stix (Scientific American, January, 2007) discusses the search for better pain relievers.
E. Dr. Nora Volkow, a neuroscientist who is the director of the National
Institute on Drug Abuse, was listed as a person to watch in 2007 by
Newsweek magazine (January 1, 2007).
B. Every 21 seconds, someone in the US suffers a traumatic brain injury. (Source: Carroll, L., War on the brain, Neurology Now, 2:12-25, 2006.)
C. Approximately 5% of the neurosurgeons in the United States are female. (Source: Firlik, K., Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside, New York: Random House, 2006.)
D. The famous neurosurgeon Harvey Cushing (some people call him the father of neurosurgery) had a colloid cyst deep inside his own brain. (Source: Firlik, K., Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside, New York: Random House, 2006.)
E. Hippocrates recommended that teeth be cleaned with a ball of wool
moistened with honey. (Source: Wynbrandt, J., The Excruciating History
of Dentistry, New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998.)
Help Neuroscience for Kids
Your comments and suggestions about this newsletter and the "Neuroscience for Kids" web site are always welcome. If there are any special topics that you would like to see on the web site, just let me know.
Eric H. Chudler, Ph.D.