Volume 17, Issue 7 (July, 2013)

In this issue:

1. What's New at Neuroscience for Kids
2. Neuroscience for Kids Site of the Month
3. My Reading List
4. Sleep Journal
5. Media Alert
6. Treasure Trove of Brain Trivia
7. Summer Email Changes
8. Support Neuroscience for Kids
9. How to Stop Your Subscription


Neuroscience for Kids had several new additions in June including:

A. June Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived

In June, 10 pages were modified.


The Neuroscience for Kids "Site of the Month" for June is "The Nun Study" at:

I mentioned "The Nun Study" back in the June 2000 issue of the Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter but never selected the web site as a "Site of the Month." This month's web site selection remedies this oversight.

The Nun Study involves the examination of the brains from 678 nuns who belong to the School Sisters of Notre Dame congregation. The nuns have pledged to donate their brains for scientific research when they die. Researchers hope that this research will provide new information about aging and Alzheimer's disease because they have medical, education and family records of the sisters and should be able to relate these factors to the risk of developing neurological disease.

The Nun Study web site provides photographs, videos and research publications about the project. I suggest you start with the "F.A.Q." section of the web site that answers basic questions about the purpose of the research. For more details about the work, click on "Publications" to read scientific papers and media reports about the findings.

My only concern with the web site is that it has not been updated recently. When I last checked, the site was last modified on December 12, 2008. Nevertheless, The Nun Study is a fascinating, unique research project.


You can learn a lot about people from the books they read. Below is a list of books I have read over the past few weeks.

Eels: An Exploration, from New Zealand to the Sargasso, of the World's Most Mysterious Fish by James Prosek

A Tour of Your Nervous System by Molly Kolpin.

101 Questions About Sleep and Dreams That Kept You Awake Nights -- until now by Faith Hickman Brynie.

All Facts Considered: The Essential Library of Inessential Knowledge by Kee Malesky.

Leprechaun Luck: A Wee Book of Irish Wisdom.

The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs are Smarter Than You Think by Brian Hare.

Crave: The Feast of the 5ive Senses by Ludovic Lefebvre.

Horseshoe Crab: Biography of a Survivor by Anthony D. Fredericks.

Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep by David K. Randall.

Octopus: The Ocean's Intelligent Invertebrate by Jennifer A. Mather.

Bats Sing, Mice Giggle: The Surprising Science of Animals' Inner Lives by Karen Shanor.

A Word in Your Shell-like: 6,000 Curious & Everyday Phrases Explained by Nigel Rees.

Unusual Creatures: A Mostly Accurate Account of Some of Earth's Strangest Animals by Michael Hearst.

The Medical Book: From Witch Doctors to Robot Surgeons. 250 Milestones in the History of Medicine by Clifford A. Pickover.

A World of Insects: The Harvard University Press Reader

The Man With The Bionic Brain: And Other Victories Over Paralysis by Jon Mukand.

Curious Behavior: Yawning, Laughing, Hiccupping, and Beyond by Robert R. Provine.

Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus by Bill Wasik.

Better Living Through Science: The Basic Scientific Principles You Need to Solve Every Household Conundrum by Mark Frary.


Companies and magazines often send me advertisements that encourage me to buy their products. Most often these unsolicited ads find their way directly to my recycling bin. On occasion, however, a company will send me a nice calendar, pen or notepad that I keep or give away. Last week I received a nice, hard cover laboratory notebook and have put this to use as my personal sleep journal.

My sleep journal records the time I go to bed, the time I wake up, and the dreams I had while sleeping. The journal is kept near my bed so I can write in it as soon as I wake up. I plan to examine my dreams to see if I can find any patterns that I can associate to things that happened during the day.

You can keep a sleep journal too. All you need is some paper and a pen. Here are some tips to get you started:

a. Use a bound journal rather than loose paper so you don't lose any pages.

b. Keep your journal very close to your bed for easy access.

c. Write down your dreams as soon as you wake up or you might forget some details. I have thought about speaking into a recording device when I wake up, but haven't tried it yet.

d. Sometimes when you first wake up, your writing may not be easy to read. Do your best to record the details of your dream and then rewrite your notes later. With time, you should find it easier to remember your dreams.

e. Record as many details (people, places, animals, weather, colors, action, sounds, feelings, smells, tastes) about your dream as possible.


A. A new SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN MIND magazine (July, 2013) is on newsstands now.

B. One-day conference about hydrocephalus for all ages, "Empowering Patients Through Education."

Cost: $15.00; discounted parking rates, discounted room rates at hotel.
Location: Sheraton by the Park, Anaheim, CA
Time: 8 am - 4 pm (Date in the Fall, 2013, to be determined)

Includes: Education by professionals and patients, breakout sessions, tables of education provided and manned by manufacturers of shunts, other hydrocephalus organizations. Come meet others, learn about hydrocephalus with layman language and descriptions. Sponsored by the National Hydrocephalus Foundation (

C. Once Blind and Now They See by Pawan Sinha (SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, July, 2013) describes surgery that allows children who are blind to see for the first time.

D. "Minds and Machines" is a new museum exhibit at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, WA. See:


A. In the early 19th century, American physicians prescribed spider webs to treat nervous system disorders, pain, and insomnia. Fresh cobwebs were made into bread, dough or pills. (Source: Hartnett, J.C., The cobweb or spider's web. The dreamy stuff of 19th century pharmacy and therapeutics, Pharmacy in History, 16: 11-17, 1974.)

B. In the United States, approximately 70 million people suffer from insomnia or another sleep disorder. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,

C. By the year 2030, almost 4% of the adults in the United States will have a stroke. (Source: American Heart Association, double-by-2030?preview=6648)

D. Capgras syndrome is a neurological disorder where people see friends, family members and other familiar people as if they are imposters.

E. The word "nucleus" comes from Latin meaning "nut."


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Eric H. Chudler, Ph.D.