NEUROSCIENCE FOR KIDS NEWSLETTER
Volume 12, Issue 12 (December, 2008)

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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. 2008 Society for Neuroscience Meeting
4. Neuroscience For Kids Drawing Contest - Now Open
5. UW Brain Awareness Week Open House
6. Holiday Lectures on Science
7. The Strange and Unusual
8. Media Alert
9. Treasure Trove of Brain Trivia
10. Support Neuroscience for Kids
11. How to Stop Your Subscription
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1. WHAT'S NEW AT NEUROSCIENCE FOR KIDS

Neuroscience for Kids had several new additions in November including:

A. November Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived
http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/news1211.html
B. Neuroscience Tools of the Trade
http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/flash/tools.html
C. Tyrannosaurus Rex: Dinosaur Nose King
http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/dino2.html
In November, 5 new figures were added and 30 pages were modified.
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2. NEUROSCIENCE FOR KIDS "SITE OF THE MONTH"

The Neuroscience for Kids "Site of the Month" for December is "It's a Noisy Planet" at:

http://www.noisyplanet.nidcd.nih.gov/

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) recently launched the "It's a Noisy Planet" program to help protect the hearing of children between the ages of 8 and 12 years old. The program is designed for parents to teach their kids how to avoid hearing loss from overexposure to loud noise.

The "It's a Noisy Planet" Web site offers information about the causes and prevention of noise-induced hearing loss, how to recognize when a child's hearing is at risk, and ways to reduce noise exposure. For kids, the site has games, free posters and pens, and interactive information about noise and hearing loss.
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3. 2008 SOCIETY FOR NEUROSCIENCE MEETING

Last month, I joined more than 31,000 neuroscientists at the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) annual meeting in Washington, D.C. This meeting is a great place for scientists to discuss their research and education projects. In addition to the scientific sessions with thousands of poster presentations covering all areas of neuroscience, approximately 200 people met to discuss the challenges and opportunities of Brain Awareness Week. I look forward to the next SfN annual meeting will be held in Chicago (IL), October 17-21, 2009.

Read the press releases about new research discussed at the 2008 annual Society for Neuroscience meeting:

http://www.sfn.org/?pagename=newsroom_newsreleases

Greg Miller, who writes for the Science magazine blog, collected some interesting statistics that illustrate the size of the annual SfN meeting:


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4. NEUROSCIENCE FOR KIDS DRAWING CONTEST - NOW OPEN

The Neuroscience for Kids Drawing Contest is now open to students in kindergarten through high school. The complete set of rules and the official entry form for the contest are available at:

http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/contest89.html

All entries must be received by February 1, 2009. Students from all countries are welcome to enter the drawing contest.
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5. UW BRAIN AWARENESS WEEK OPEN HOUSE

There is still space available at the 2009 University of Washington Brain Awareness Week Open House in Seattle on Wednesday, March 11, 2009. Applications are now being accepted. Please complete and return the application form (in PDF format or WORD format):

http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/pdf/2009teachinv.pdf

or

http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/pdf/2009teachinv.doc

To read about last year's BAW Open House at the University of Washington, please see:

http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/baw08oh.html

If you cannot download the application form for the Open House, contact me by e-mail (chudler@u.washington.edu).
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6. HOLIDAY LECTURES ON SCIENCE

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute will present a series of four live webcasts titled "Making Your Mind. Molecules, Motion, and Memory" on December 4 and 5, 2008. The lectures will be given by Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist Dr. Eric R. Kandel and Dr. Thomas M. Jessell. These lectures are appropriate for high school students interested in learning about how the nervous system controls memory and movement. If you register for the online lectures, you will receive a free poster! If you miss the live lectures, you will still be able to watch them on the Howard Hughes Medical Institute BioInteractive Web site after December 9, 2008. For more information about the series, see:

http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/index.html
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7. THE STRANGE AND UNUSUAL

Recent strange and unusual animal/human stories with a neuroscience twist:

A. The Japan Times (11/21/2008) reported that a 41-year-old man was found guilty of illegally keeping 51 venomous snakes in his Tokyo condominium. The venom in at least some of the snakes (cobras, pit vipers) is neurotoxic. The snakes were discovered when the man called an ambulance after he was bitten by a cobra.

B. KING5 TV (11/19/2008) in Seattle (WA) reported that a woman found a black widow spider in a 5-pound package of grapes she bought at her local Costco. The neurotoxin in black widow spider venom is called latrotoxin. Latrotoxin works by causing the release of the neurotransmitter called acetylcholine.

C. FOXNEWS (11/17/2008) reported that a 15-year-old boy in Brazil is only the third person to live after contracting rabies. The boy was bitten while he slept by a bat infected with rabies. Rabies is a disease caused by a virus that attacks cells of the nervous system; it is almost always fatal.

D. The Daily Mail (11/12/2008) reported that filming of the Disney movie "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton and Ben Kingsley was interrupted after a scorpion was found on the set near London. It is thought that the scorpion made its way to England hidden in some props that were used in Morocco. Some scorpions contain a neurotoxin that blocks potassium channels on neurons.

E. The Tampa Tribune (11/21/2008) reported that the sheriff's office in Brooksville (FL) received a bloodhound dog who will use its sense of smell to "...track children who wander from home, the missing Alzheimer's patient and the bank robber who bails out of the getaway car."
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8. MEDIA ALERT

A. "Batting for the Cure" by Michael Goldsmith (Newsweek Magazine, November, 10, 2008) describes how the diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis led one man to become a fundraiser for more research.

B. "Magic and the Brain: How Magicians 'Trick' the Mind" by Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen L. Macknik (Scientific American, December, 2008).

C. "The Year in Medicine: From A to Z" (Time Magazine, December 1, 2008) mentions several discoveries related to the nervous system.

D. The December 2008 issue of Scientific American MIND is now available. This issue has articles about procrastinating, using deep brain stimulation to treat brain disorders, making major life changes, intelligence in the animal kingdom, mild traumatic brain injury and emergency room therapies for severe traumatic brain injury.

E. "Wired for Sound" by Oliver Sacks (O, The Oprah Magazine, December, 2008) describes how music affects the brain.

F. Free "The Five Senses" Nanooze magazines for teachers; see:

http://www.nanooze.org/english/nanooze_newsletters.html
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9. THE TREASURE TROVE OF BRAIN TRIVIA

A. The brain of an adult koala weighs 18.6 grams (Reference: Grand, T.I., and Barboza1, P.S., Anatomy and development of the koala, Phascolarctos cinereus: an evolutionary perspective on the superfamily Vombatoidea, Anat. Embryol., 203:211223, 2001.)

B. A "polyglot" is a person who can speak, read or write several languages.

C. Siderodromophobia is an irrational fear of trains.

D. The brain of Nobel Peace Prize winner Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov was placed in the Moscow Brain Research Institute in 1989. (Source: Vein, A.A. and Maat-Schieman, L.C., Famous Russian brains: historical attempts to understand intelligence, Brain, 131:583-590, 2008.)

E. St. Giles is the patron saint of paralysis.
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10. SUPPORT NEUROSCIENCE FOR KIDS

To insure that Neuroscience for Kids stays available, we need your help. If you would like to contribute to the funding of Neuroscience for Kids, please visit:

Help Neuroscience for Kids
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11. HOW TO STOP RECEIVING THIS NEWSLETTER

To remove yourself from this mailing list and stop your subscription to the Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter, send e-mail to Dr. Eric H. Chudler at: chudler@u.washington.edu
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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

Eric H. Chudler, Ph.D.
(e-mail: chudler@u.washington.edu)
(URL: http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/neurok.html)