Volume 14, Issue 11 (November, 2010)

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 - Now Open
4. 2011 University of Washington Brain Awareness Week Open House
5. Neuroscientific Garden Touch
7. Media Alert
8. Treasure Trove of Brain Trivia
9. Support Neuroscience for Kids
10. How to Stop Your Subscription


Neuroscience for Kids had several new additions in October including:

A. October Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived
B. New Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis
C. Stick to Standard Spoons
D. Neuroscience for Kids Drawing Contest
E. UW Brain Awareness Week Open House

Share Neuroscience for Kids with your friends on Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. It's easy! Just scroll down to the bottom of the main Neuroscience for Kids web site and click on one of the share buttons. Try it out:

In October, 6 new figures were added and 76 pages were modified.


The Neuroscience for Kids "Site of the Month" for November is "Diseases of the Mind: Highlights of American Psychiatry through 1900" at:

Written by Dr. Lucy Ozarin for the National Library of Medicine, "Diseases of the Mind" describes important events and people that shaped the diagnosis and treatment of people with mental illness in the 19th century. After the "Introduction" page, use the phrases at the bottom of the screen to navigate through the Web site. You will learn about how hospitals have changed over the years and about the work of Dr. Benjamin Rush, the "Father of American Psychiatry," Dorothea Lynde Dix, who campaigned for more humane treatment of people with mental illness, and other people who influenced the field of American psychiatry.


Get out your pencils, pens and markers! The NEUROSCIENCE FOR KIDS DRAWING CONTEST is now open to students in kindergarten through high school. This year, TEACHERS and PARENTS can enter too! Use your imagination to draw a picture about the nervous system and you might win a prize. The complete set of rules and the official entry form for the contest are available at:

Here is a brief description of the drawing contest rules:

A. Drawings must be done by hand using pencils, pens, markers, and/or crayons and submitted on an official entry form (or copy of the form).

B. Entries will be divided into five categories based on age. Complete one of the following sentences and draw a picture to illustrate the sentence; if you are in:

Kindergarten to Grade 2: "My brain helps me ________________."

Grade 3 to Grade 5: "Brain Fitness: I keep my brain healthy by _________."

Grade 6 to Grade 8: "My brain is like a _________ because___________."

Grade 9 to Grade 12: "My favorite part of the brain is ________ because _____."

Teachers (all grades) and parents: "My favorite neuroscientist is ______ because _______."

Web sites for teacher and parent drawing ideas:

SPECIAL HINT TO NEWSLETTER READERS: if you are in grade 6 to 8, do NOT draw a picture that compares the brain to a computer, a book, a sponge or a robot. These comparisons are very common and are unlikely to win. Be creative!

C. To enter the drawing contest, mail your completed entry form to the address listed on the entry form.

D. Entries must be received by February 1, 2011, and will not be returned. Winners will be announced no later than March 1, 2011.

E. Drawings will be judged by the staff of Neuroscience for Kids or by other individuals designated by Dr. Eric H. Chudler. Drawings will be judged on the basis of originality, scientific accuracy and overall design.

F. There will be several winners in each age group. Winners will be awarded a neuroscience book or other prize related to the brain.

Good luck to everyone!


Brain Awareness Week (BAW) is a yearly event to promote the public and personal benefits of brain research. As part of international BAW at the University of Washington, you are invited to an Open House on Tuesday, March 1, 2011.

The Brain Awareness Week Open House will include an interactive group assembly about the brain and hands-on exhibits that highlight brain research. The Open House will be held at the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI; 2700 24th Ave East, Seattle, WA), just south of the University of Washington Seattle campus. Because of the high interest in the Open House and limited space, the number of people who can attend may be restricted. To register for the Open House, please visit:

Students, teachers and chaperons who attend the Open House will get FREE ADMISSION to MOHAI.


Nature is filled animals that use toxins that affect the nervous system for protection and to capture food. Some plants are a rich source of chemicals that scientists have used to make medicines to help people with diseases of the nervous system.

One plant, the fava bean (Vicia faba), is a source of l-dopa, the chemical that is converted to the neurotransmitter called dopamine. The fava bean is also a popular cover crop that people use to protect their garden soil over the winter. In the spring, cover crops are turned under to add nutrients back to the soil. Last month, I added a bit of neuroscience to my winter garden by planting fava beans. Although fava beans are eaten in many parts of the world, especially countries in the Middle East, I do not plan to make a meal of the beans. Rather, I just want to improve the soil quality of my garden.

NOTE: DANGER - eating fava beans can be fatal to people who have very low levels of the enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase.

Neurotoxins in Animals

Medicinal Plants - Neurological Uses


The holiday season is coming up and it is not too soon to think about the perfect gifts for your friends and family. Perhaps you will find a brainy present at NEURO4KIDS.COM:


A. "Remains of the Day" by Eben Harrell (TIME magazine, October 11, 2010) describes a new type of camera that may help people with memory problems.

B. "BRAIN: The Inside Story" is an interactive exhibit about the nervous system at the American Museum of National History in New York. The exhibit runs from November 20, 2010 to August 14, 2011. See:

C. "Life Science Research Weekend" will be held November 5-7, 2010, at the Pacific Science Center (Seattle, WA). I will be doing to two demonstration shows at this event on Saturday, November 7, at 12:20 pm and 2:50 pm.

D. "Alzheimer's" is the cover story in TIME magazine (October 25, 2010).

E. "Controlling the Brain with Light" by Karl Deisseroth in Scientific American magazine (November, 2010).

F. Sports Illustrated (November 1, 2010) has a special report about sports-related concussions.

G. "Keeping Young Minds Healthy" by Jeffrey Kluger (TIME magazine, November 1, 2010) discusses kids and mental health.


A. November is Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month and Epilepsy Awareness Month.

B. The European magpie has a body that weighs about 190 g and a brain that weighs 5.8 g. This means that this bird's brain is 3% of its total body weight. This brain to body weight ratio is larger than the brain to body weight ratio for humans (about 2%). (Source: Prior, H., Schwarz, A., and Gunturkun, O., Mirror-induced behavior in the magpie (Pica pica): evidence of self-recognition, PLoS Biol. 2008 Aug 19;6(8):e202.)

C. According to U.S. News & World Report, the top five neuroscience Ph.D. programs in the US are located at: 1) Harvard University; 2) Stanford University; 3) University of California, San Francisco; 4) Johns Hopkins University and 5) Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (Source: 2011 Edition, America's Best Graduate Schools, Washington, D.C.: U.S. News & World Report, Inc., 2010.)

D. The normal hearing range for young adult humans is between 20 and 20,000 Hz; for goldfish, the hearing range is between 5 and 2,000 Hz; for rats, the hearing range is between 1,000 and 50,000 Hz and for dolphins, the hearing range is between 200 and 150,000 Hz. (Source: Discover Science Almanac, New York: Hyperion, 2003.)

E. There are 5,000 molecules of neurotransmitter in one synaptic vesicle (Source: Kandel, E.R., Schwartz, J.H., and Jessell, T.M. (Eds.), Principles of Neural Science. Fourth ed., New York: McGraw Hill Health Professions Division, 2000, p. 277)


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Help Neuroscience for Kids


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.