Volume 12, Issue 8 (August, 2008)


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. Brain Gourmet
4. Eye Model
5. Media Alert
6. Treasure Trove of Brain Trivia
7. Support Neuroscience for Kids
8. How to Stop Your Subscription


Neuroscience for Kids had several new additions in July including:

A. July Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived
B. Super Smeller Dog Sniffs Out Cancer
C. Neurotoxin in Lobster Liver

In July, 7 new figures were added and 38 pages were modified.


The Neuroscience for Kids "Site of the Month" for August is "Bird Brains" at:

"Bird Brains" is a PBS Nova Science Now television program (aired on July 16, 2008) that discusses how the study of bird brains helps understand human language. You can watch the 13-minute show and download the program transcripts on the Bird Brains web site. The site also has a short video of a 1950s study showing that crows learn their calls and are not born knowing them. Teachers can also download viewing ideas to guide students before and after watching the program.


One night as I was channel surfing, I stopped on a TV program on the Travel Channel called "Bizarre Foods." What I saw gave new meaning to the phrase "brain food."

The host of Bizarre Foods is Andrew Zimmern. Mr. Zimmern travels around the world to eat local foods. The episode I saw took Mr. Zimmern to Barcelona, Spain, where he sampled pan-fried calf brains at an open air market. As I watched this program, I wondered what other cultures around the world make a meal from brains.

To research this question, I turned to a book called "Unmentionable Cuisine" by Calvin W. Schwabe (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1979). Schwabe details no less than 20 different recipes for brains (mostly beef and pork), including batter-fried (France), cakes (England), with eggs (Austria), in lemon sauce (Russia), in coconut cream (Indonesia), dumplings (Norway), soup (Germany), with tomatoes (Columbia), fried (Turkey), neapolitan style (Italy), tacos (Mexico), and broiled (Greece). I must admit that I have never tried any of these recipes.

Although brains may not be on your menu, it is important to respect the customs of other people. Remember, a diet of hamburgers and pizza may seem unusual to some people.

Bizarre Foods at:

Did you know? One piece (391 g) of beef brain contains:
Calories: 590 (Calories from Fat: 371)
Total Fat: 41.2 g
Cholesterol: 12,121 mg (4,040% the daily recommended value!)
Sodium: 422 mg
Protein: 45.6 g



A few students have been working on science projects over the summer. One student asked for some ideas to model the eye. The convex shape of the lens of the eye turns an image upside down on the retina. To model what a convex lens does to an image, get a magnifying glass. Like the lens of the eye, a magnifying glass is also a convex lens. Find a white wall or tape a piece of white paper to a wall that faces a window. Hold the magnifying glass close (3 in; 10 cm) to the wall or paper. By moving the magnifying glass toward and away from the wall or paper, you will focus light coming through the magnifying glass. You should be able to see an inverted image on the wall or paper.


A. Anne Underwood reviews the new book "What the Nose Knows" in the July 21, 2008 issue of Newsweek magazine.

B. "Inside the Grieving Brain" by Jerry Adler (Newsweek Magazine, August 4, 2008).

C. "Why Migraines Strike" by David W. Dodick and J. Jay Gargus and "Magnifying Taste" by Melinda Wenner (Scientific American, August, 2008). This issue of Scientific American also has two short news articles: "Lighting Up the Lies" discusses using brain scans to detect lying and "Didn't Hear It Coming" discusses making hybrid cars noisier so pedestrians can hear them.

D. "What Does Alzheimer's Look Like in Your Brain?" by Tyghe Trimble and Sherry Baker and "Can Schizophrenia Be Cured Before It Starts?" by Charles Schmidt (Discover magazine, August, 2008).

E. The August 2008 issue of Scientific American Mind is on newsstands now with articles including:
"The Secrets of Storytelling: Why We Love a Good Yarn"
"Gifted Children: How to Bring Out Their Potential"
"High-Aptitude Minds: The Neurological Roots of Genius"
"Minding Mistakes: How the Brain Monitors Errors and Learns from Goofs"
"Animal Intelligence and the Evolution of the Human Mind"
"How Snoozing Makes You Smarter"
"The Hidden Power of Scent"


A. On July 1, 2008, a new law (HEA 1318) went into effect in the state of Indiana that removes a $10 motorcycle registration charge and charges a 30-cent fee on all motor vehicle registrations. The 30-cent fee will fund spinal cord and brain injury research.

B. The brain of a killer whale (Orcinus orca) weighs 5,059 g (11.2 lbs). (Source: Marino, L., Cetacean brains: How aquatic are they?, The Anatomical Record, 290:694-700, 2007.)

C. Retired US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor cares for her husband, John, who has Alzheimer's disease.

D. The term "dyslexia" was coined by Rudolf Berlin of Stuttgart, Germany, in 1887.

E. St. Dympna is the patron saint of mental illness.


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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:

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.