Volume 14, Issue 6 (June, 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. Belgian Brain Cell
4. Figure/Ground Delivery
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 May including:

A. May Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived
B. Too Much/Too Little Sleep Linked to Earlier Death
C. Ryan Westmoreland - Thrown a Curveball by a Cavernous Malformation

In May, 7 new figures were added and 25 pages were modified.


The Neuroscience for Kids "Site of the Month" for June is "Welcome to Biological Psychology" at:

The "Welcome to Biological Psychology" Web site consists of two major sections. The first, Learning Biological Psychology, is a companion Web site to the textbook "Biological Psychology, 5th edition" by Marc Breedlove, Mark R. Rosenzweig, and Neil V. Watson. The site contains outlines, study questions, quizzes, activities, animations, tutorials and videos for the 19 chapters of the textbook. These resources are great ways to review concepts.

The second main section is the Biological Psychology NewsLink. NewsLinks are short summaries of recent news reports and research papers. The most recent summaries are listed first and they are also categorized according to appropriate chapters in the textbook on the left side of page.


The Belgian pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo is shaped like a giant brain cell! According to the developers of the exhibit, the brain cell was selected for the pavilion design because:

"It evokes the artistic richness of Belgium, as well as all its scientific achievements that have been integrated in our daily lifestyles and contributed to our global intellectual patrimony. The Brain Cell also refers directly to the role of Belgium as one Europe?s main cross-points and gathering centres. Throughout our experiences with Chinese locals in Shanghai, it appeared that although not all the Chinese are fully aware of Belgium, the meaning of this Brain Cell was easily understood."

Do you think the "brain cell" is a nerve cell or a glial cell?


Last month I received a delivery from the FedEx company. Although I was interested in the contents of the mail, I couldn't take my eyes off of the FedEx logo on the outside of the package. The FedEx logo, blue and orange letters that spell out "FedEx," was created using a figure/ground illusion similar to that used in the famous face/vase picture. In the face/vase picture, you see either a face or a vase, but you can't see both at the same time. The next time you see a FedEx truck or receive a FedEx package, see if you can pick out the hidden image. If you can't find the hidden image, send me an email ( and I will tell you where to look.

And speaking of visual illusions -- the results of the 2010 "Best Illusion of the Year" were announced at the Vision Sciences Society meeting last month. See the winners here:


A. A new issue of Scientific American MIND is on newsstands. This issue is devoted to illusions can includes the articles, "169 BEST ILLUSIONS," "The Neuroscience of Illusion," "A Perspective on 3-D Visual Illusions," "The Neuroscience of Yorick's Ghost and Other Afterimages," "Colors Out of Space," "Kinetic Illusions in Op Art," "Sculpting the Impossible: Solid Renditions of Visual Illusions," "Food for Thought: Visual Illusions Good Enough to Eat," "What's in a Face?," "The Eyes Have It."

B. "The Insanity Virus" by Douglas Fox (Discover magazine, June, 2010) proposes a new theory about the cause of schizophrenia.

C. "Alzheimer's: Forestalling the Darkness" by Gary Stix (Scientific American, June, 2010) discusses how interventions before symptoms appear could stop or slow dementia.

D. "Fake Botox, Real Threat" by Ken Coleman and Raymond A. Zilinskas (Scientific American, June, 2010) discusses the potential problems associated with counterfeit botox, a neurotoxin.

E. An article by Bryan Walsh in Time magazine (May 31, 2010) discusses the recent International Journal of Epidemiology report about cell phones and brain cancer.

F. "Desperately Seeking Cures" by Sharon Begley and Mary Carmichael is the cover story of the May 31, 2010 issue of Newsweek magazine and discusses the process and problems of developing new drug treatments.


A. Betsy Cushing, the second daughter of famous neurosurgeon Harvey Cushing, was married to Jimmy Roosevelt, the son of US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. (Reference: Pearl, P.L., Neurological problems of jazz legends, J. Child Neurol. 24:1037-1042, 2009.)

B. In February 1848, United States President John Quincy Adams had a stroke while he addressed Congress. He died two days later. (Reference: Jones, J.M. and Jones, J.L., Presidential stroke: United States presidents and cerebrovascular disease, CNS Spectr. 11:674-678, 2006.)

C. Cerebrospinal fluid has a pH of 7.4 (Source: Balaban, N.E. and Bobick, J.E., The Handy Anatomy Answers Book, Canton [MI]: Visible Ink Press, 2008).

D. June is Vision Research Month.

E. A 20 oz. cup (a "Venti" size) of Starbucks brewed coffee has 415 mg of caffeine, a central nervous system stimulant. A single espresso shot of Starbucks coffee has 75 mg of caffeine. A maximum strength "NoDoz" pill contains 200 mg of caffeine. (Source for coffee caffeine content: Starbucks Coffee Company pamphlet, 2009.)


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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.