In this issue:
A. April Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived
B. Egyptian Cobra Found
C. Lead in Dresses
In April, 2 new figures were added and 44 pages were modified.
The Royal Society, based in the United Kingdom, is the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence. This group has started the "Brain Waves" project to study how neuroscience is influencing society and public policy. So far, the Brain Waves project has release two reports with a collection of essays about: 1) Neuroscience, society and policy and 2) Neuroscience: implications for education and lifelong learning. In the upcoming months, two more reports will be released: 1) Neuroscience, conflict and security and 2) Neuroscience, responsibility and the law.
In general, all of the essays are well-written, although I wish they had
more photographs and images to illustrate concepts and provided more
examples. Nevertheless, if you are interested in the social, political
and legal implications of neuroscience, the reports are certainly worth
On August 5, 2011, a new addition to the Planet of the Apes series will debut. The new movie is titled "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" and stars James Franco. According to press releases, the new movie tells the story about how apes came to rule the Earth. Apparently, a researcher (Franco) develops a way to cure Alzheimer's disease and heal the brain, but something "goes wrong."
It is sometimes difficult for me to watch movies with a neuroscience theme
without being too critical about the science. However, I will make every
effort to suspend my disbelief and enjoy this new summer movie.
The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) is looking for videos that creatively educate and excite the public about neuroscience, and we want you to get involved! Cash prizes will be awarded to the best original video that demonstrates a concept about the brain or nervous system in less than five minutes through an animation, song or skit. Videos will be judged on accuracy, creativity and educational content. Scientists of ALL ages are welcome to participate, but contestants must partner with an SfN member. You can find a neuroscientist near you using the SfN Web site at:
Submissions are due June 10, 2011. For details about the contest, see:
B. "The Brain Fixers" by Katherine Griffin (Reader's Digest, May, 2011) describes the efforts to reduce traumatic brain injuries.
C. The May, 2011, issue of Scientific American MIND is on newsstands now with articles including "The Unleashed Mind: Why Creative People Are Eccentric," "Distance Therapy Comes of Age," "10 Top Illusions," "The Hidden Brain," "Control Yourself!," "Obsessions Revisited" and "Why Johnny Can't Name His Colors."
D. Mehmet Oz discusses the dangers of methylenedioxypyrovalenone (MDPV), drugs also known as bath salts, in Time magazine (April 25, 2011).
E. "Inner Sparks" by Alicia Anstead (Scientific American, May, 2011) discusses how studying the brain during musical improvisation help us understand creativity. This issue also has "The Hidden Organ In Our Eyes" by Ignacio Provencio and "Masters of Disguise" by Peter Forbes.
F. "The Mystery of the Singing Mice" by Rob Dunn (Smithsonian magazine, May, 2011).
G. "Neuroscience for All" by Michelle Oeser (MCB Transcript, April, 2011) describes my outreach work; available at:
B. The first US eye bank opened in New York City on May 9, 1944.
C. Better Hearing and Speech Month, Better Sleep Month, Healthy Vision Month, Huntington's Disease Awareness Month, Lyme Disease Awareness Month, Mental Health Month and National Stroke Awareness Month are all celebrated in the month of May.
D. The "Trinidad Scorpion Butch T" chili pepper is the hottest pepper even grown. This pepper scores a 1.46 million units on the Scoville heat scale. The jalapeno pepper scores only 5,000 Scoville units. The next hottest pepper is the Naga Viper chili with 1.38 million Scoville units. (Source: The Sydney Morning Herald, April 12, 2011.)
E. Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman (Black Swan, Star Wars, Cold Mountain, V for Vendetta and many more movies) studied neuroscience at Harvard University. She was a co-author, using her real name, Natalie Hershlag, of a paper titled "Frontal Lobe Activation during Object Permanence: Data from Near-Infrared Spectroscopy" that was published in 2002 in the journal "Neuroimage." You can read the full paper here:
Help Neuroscience for Kids
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.