NEUROSCIENCE FOR KIDS NEWSLETTER
Volume 13, Issue 1 (January, 2009)

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HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM NEUROSCIENCE FOR KIDS!
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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. Drawing Contest - One More Month
4. 2009 Brain Awareness Week
5. Unsung Heroes
6. Media Alert
7. Treasure Trove of Brain Trivia
8. Support Neuroscience for Kids
9. 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 December including:

A. December Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived
http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/news1212.html
B. Treasure Hunt Game #8
http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/hunt8.html
C. January and February 2009 Neurocalendars
http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/pdf/jan09.pdf
http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/pdf/feb09.pdf
D. 2000-Year-Old Brain Found
http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/obrain.html
E. Colors or No Colors Illusion
http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/afterbee.html

In December, 9 new figures were added and 51 pages were modified.
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2. NEUROSCIENCE FOR KIDS "SITE OF THE MONTH"

The Neuroscience for Kids "Site of the Month" for January is the New Scientist "The Human Brain" at:

http://www.newscientist.com/topic/brain

"The Human Brain" Web site from the New Scientist magazine has several features that are sure to excite your brain about the brain:

A. Latest Articles: frequently updated news stories about brain research.
B. Instant Expert: basic information about the brain.
C. Mind Tricks: methods to study your own brain.
D. Last Word: answers to common questions about the brain.
E. Interview: a short video with language expert, Dr. Steven Pinker.

There are advertisements scattered throughout the Web site, but you can ignore them as you explore this fine resource.
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3. DRAWING CONTEST - ONE MORE MONTH

The NEUROSCIENCE FOR KIDS DRAWING CONTEST is open for ONE MORE MONTH 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 drawing contest entries must be RECEIVED by February 1, 2009. Students from all countries are welcome to enter the contest.
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4. 2009 BRAIN AWARENESS WEEK

Brain Awareness Week (BAW) is scheduled for March 16-22, 2009. I hope you have plans. You might want to have a neuroscientist visit your class or schedule a brain fair for your school.

Here at the University of Washington (Seattle, WA), students will attend the 12th annual BAW Open House on March 11, 2009. The Open House will feature hands-on, interactive exhibits sponsored by students, faculty and staff from various university departments and organizations. There is still space available at the Open House and applications are still being accepted. If you would like to attend the UW BAW Open House, 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

Even if you cannot organize a brain fair, have a classroom visit by a neuroscientist or come to the Open House, you can still participate in BAW with some activities about the brain and nervous system. Neuroscience for Kids has some "brainy" ideas for a day, a week or a whole month; see:

http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/baw1.html

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

In celebration of BAW, send a "brainy" postcard to a friend or family member; see:

http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/jpuz.html
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5. UNSUNG HEROES

Books, magazine articles and newspaper stories often tell the stories about famous scientists who make a discovery or win an award. Less often do we hear about another special group of people who contribute to science: patients. People who have suffered brain injuries have provided neuroscientists with important information about how the brain works. For example, most neuroscientists and many students have heard of Mr. Phineas Gage who suffered a brain injury when an iron rod accidentally pierced his brain in 1848. Another famous patient was Tan. Tan was a man who developed severe speech problems. In 1861, Dr. Paul Broca showed that Tan had damage in his left frontal lobe. Broca's discovery led to a better understanding about how the brain is involved with language.

On December 2, 2008, another famous patient, named "HM" ("H.M."), passed away at the age of 82. HM, whose real name was Henry Molaison, was hit by a bicycle and developed seizures when he was nine years old. When Molaison was 27 years old, he underwent an operation to control his his seizures. During the surgery, doctors removed the hippocampus, amygdala and parts of the temporal cortex on both sides of Molaison's brain. After the surgery, Molaison's seizures were reduced, but he was left with a strange memory problem: he could remember things that happened before the operation, but he could not form new memories! In other words, he could not get short-term memories into long-term memory. Mr. Molaison participated in research projects for many decades after his surgery. This research has provided important insights about how the brain processes and stores information.

For more information about Gage, Tan and H.M., see:

Phineas Gage Information

Language and the Brain The Day His World Stood Still: The Strange Story of H.M.
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6. MEDIA ALERT

A. "Gene Therapy in a New Light" by Jocelyn Kaiser (Smithsonian magazine, January, 2009) discusses the use of a new experimental genetic treatment for blindness.

B. "Inside the Shopping Brain" by Sharon Begley (Newsweek magazine, December 15, 2008).

C. "I Love My Life" by Mark Dagostino (People magazine, December 8, 2008) describes how actor Michael J. Fox is coping with Parkinson's disease.
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7. THE TREASURE TROVE OF BRAIN TRIVIA

A. The volume of one sound relative to a standard is called a "bel." Tenths of bels are called decibels. The bel is named for Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone. (Source: Nolte, J., The Human Brain. An Introduction to Its Functional Anatomy, 6th edition, Philadelphia: Mosby Elsevier, 2009.)

B. Famous people who succeeded after having a stroke include Louis Pasteur (scientist), Winston Churchill (British prime minister), Dwight D. Eisenhower (US president), Kirk Douglas (actor), and Quincy Jones (musician). (Source: Wallechinsky, D. and Wallace, A., The New Book of Lists, New York: Canongate, 2005.)

C. 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., 203:211?223, 2001.)

D. There is a Dutch proverb that says: "A handful of patience is worth a bushel of brains."

E. January 4, 2009 is World Braille Day. January 4th is the day that Louis Braille, the inventor of Braille, was born.
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8. SUPPORT NEUROSCIENCE FOR KIDS

To ensure 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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9. 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)