In this issue:
A. May Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived
B. July and August Neurocalendars
C. Chick Dance Chicks Recalled
In May, 3 new figures were added and 29 pages were modified.
Although the web site of the Association for Psychological Science (APS)
is intended primarily for its members, there is still plenty of material
for everyone else. Some articles from the association's journals are
available to non-members. For example, a special issue about the teenage
brain can be read in the "Current Directions in Psychological Science"
(April, 2013). Articles from the APS "Observer" and news and videos
covering the many subfields of psychology are also accessible to
Although the Omaha aquarium had a variety of impressive displays, my favorite exhibit contained jellyfish. I could watch the jellyfish float up and down for hours; they appear so peaceful. The sting of some jellyfish have a neurotoxin so strong it could be lethal to people, so I am glad they were inside a tank.
After visiting the aquarium, I made my way to the tropical house. Before I entered the main area of the tropical house, an exhibit showing how many medicines come from plants caught my eye. As some readers of this newsletter know, I am currently working on a project investigating the neuroactive properties of medicinal plants and herbs ("Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience" -- http://www.neuroseeds.org), so this exhibit was interesting to me in many ways. Several plants discussed in the exhibit have been used to create medicines to treat neurological illnesses.
Once inside the tropical house, I approach a group of bats feeding on some cut fruit. The bats were not enclosed by any glass or fence, so when they flew off, they buzzed by me only inches away. Although some people believe that bats are blind, they actually have decent eyesight and they also use echolocation to navigate and find food. So, I was not concerned when the bats flew so close to me that I could feel the wind off their wings.
The rest of the tropical house had many birds, mammals, fish and reptiles that I had never seen before. I was not able to tour the entire zoo, but if it is anything like the aquarium and tropical house, then a visit to this zoo would be a great side trip the next time you are in Omaha.
For more information about the Omaha Zoo, see:
In Molly Kolpin's book, "Nelly Neuron" takes readers on a tour of the nervous system. The book starts with a description of a neuron and then moves to the brain. In only 21 pages, the book does not provide too much detail, but the colorful comic book drawings are likely to appeal to young readers. Karin Halvorson also uses comic book drawings and adds photographs of kids to illustrate how the brain works; she also includes simple experiments to reinforce concepts. Unlike Kolpin, Halvorson does not discuss the structure of the neuron.
Unfortunately, both books contain a few scientific errors. For example,
Kolpin's description of the brain's role in a reflex and Halvorson's
description of right/left brain differences are not accurate.
Nevertheless, both books still provide budding neuroscientists with a good
introduction to the brain.
B. "Mind in the Machine" by Adam Piore and "Standing Promise" by Nate Berg in DISCOVER magazine (June, 2013).
C. "Breaking the Brain Barrier" by Jeneen Interlandi (SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, June, 2013).
D. "A Bird's Eye View" by Tim Birkhead (AUDUBON magazine, May-June, 2013).
E. "Thought Experiment" by Jonathan Keats (WIRED magazine, June, 2013)
describes the work of Henry Markram to simulate the human brain.
B. 99% of all animals are invertebrates; they do not have a backbone.
C. Electric eels generate their shock using specialized cells in their nervous system. (For more details, see: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-do-electric-eels-gene)
D. The word "physiology" comes from Greek meaning "the study of nature."
E. Plessor, plexor and percussor are words used to describe the small
hammer that doctors use to test reflexes.
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.