In this issue:
A. March Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived
In March, 4 new figures were added and 22 pages were modified.
"Brain: The Mind as Matter" is a new museum exhibit open at the Wellcome Collection (London, England) until June 12, 2012. To accompany the museum exhibit, the Wellcome Collection has developed a great web site where you can learn about the brain. The web site is divided into six sections:
A. Image galleries: four separate collections of photographs about measuring the brain, mapping/modeling the brain, treating the brain and collecting brain specimens.
B. Events: public events associated with the museum exhibit. These event look like a lot of fun!
C. Axon: an interactive game where you try to grow the longest neuron.
D. 360 degree brain: an interactive activity where you can rotate a human brain in different directions.
E. Brains: the book: some pages from a book published for the exhibit can be read online.
F. Credits: learn who is responsible for the exhibit.
If you cannot visit the Wellcome Collection in London to see the museum
exhibit, then the next best thing is the "Brains: The Mind as Matter" web
To start the Open House, I spoke with students during an interactive, multimedia "Brain Assembly" where they learned about the nervous system. We discussed neurotransmission, compared the brains of different animals and played with some visual illusions.
Students then visited exhibits set up by University of Washington departments, laboratories and other organizations. For example, students were connected to a transcranial Doppler machine to measure their brain blood flow (UW Dept. of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine) and they tested their senses and built neuron models at exhibits set up by the Neurobiology and Behavior Community Outreach Program. The Pacific Science Center "Brain Power" team provided many exhibits that they bring out to schools. The DO-IT program, UW Department of Otolaryngology, Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, Northwest Association for Biomedical Research, Department of Biology, Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering, Unite for Sight, Youth Take Heart program and Seattle Hydrocephalus Support Group also provided exhibits.
Some of the students' favorite exhibits were the planaria exhibit (stem
cells), Doppler brain blood flow, comparative neuroanatomy display, visual
illusions, "magic" water illusion, face painting, fly flight simulator,
prism goggles, auditory exhibits, bird songs, mirror drawing and
After we develop these experiments, we will teach science teachers to use the materials in their own classrooms. I think teachers and students will have a fun time learning about neuroscience this way. You can read more about our progress developing these materials on the new Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience web site at:
B. "Polio's Last Act" by Helen Branswell (Scientific American, April, 2012) discusses problems associated with the polio vaccine.
C. "MITs Sebastian Seung Wants Computers to Map the Brain" by Matthew
Hutson (Wired magazine, April 2012).
B. The Sydney funnel web spider (Atrax robustus) uses a neurotoxin called robustotoxin to subdue its prey. Robustotoxin works by opening sodium channels on neurons.
C. The adult human brain consumes about 10 kcal/kg/hr or about 280-420 calories per day. (Source: Lieberman, D.E., The Evolution of the Human Head, Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011.)
D. Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that it estimates 1 in 88 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). (Source: http://www.cdc.gov/Features/CountingAutism/)
E. The word "microscope" was coined by Johannes Faber in 1625.
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.