Volume 3, Issue 6 (June, 1999)


Welcome to the Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter.

Here is what you will find in this issue:

1. What's New on the Neuroscience for Kids Web Pages
2. The Neuroscience for Kids Page of the Month
3. Goodbye Dr. Kajander
4. Play Safe
5. Book Review
6. Media Alert
7. Treasure Trove of Brain Trivia
8. How to Stop Your Subscription


Neuroscience for Kids had several new additions in May. Here are some of them:

A. May Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived
B. Stem Cells
C. More NO
D. Caffeine Consumption Worksheet
E. The "RIGHT" Side of Humor
F. New pictures added to the Student Art Gallery
G. Two Point Discrimination (Teacher Guide/Student Guide)
H. Lyme Disease
I. Lights Out for Night Lights?
J. Brain Cards
a) Bike Safety Day
b) Happy Belated Birthday

In May, 53 new figures were added and 85 pages were modified.


The Neuroscience for Kids "Page of the Month" for June is a page developed by the Exploratorium called "The Memory Exhibition" at:

The Neuroscience for Kids "Page of the Month" for June is a page developed by the Exploratorium called "The Memory Exhibition" at:

The Exploratorium, a science museum located in San Francisco, has created this web site with many interactive exhibits for people who cannot make it to their museum. One of their newest exhibits is about memory.

Start your "trip" to the Exploratorium with a sheep brain dissection to learn about the areas of the brain important for memory. Then move on to drawings created by an artist who painted his childhood home from memory. There are also on-line games to test your memory and audio lectures by neuroscientists and psychologists to teach you more about memory. This memory exhibit is just one of the many excellent on-line resources created by the Exploratorium (


On April 28, 1999, Dr. Keith C. Kajander passed away. He had a seizure on April 23, went into a coma and never recovered. You have probably never heard of Dr. Kajander, but he was a fellow neuroscientist and my friend.

Keith grew up in Minnesota and earned his Bachelor's degree (psychology) in 1976, a D.D.S. (dentistry) in 1980 and a Ph.D. (anatomy) in 1986 from the University of Minnesota.

I met Keith in 1986 during our postdoctoral fellowships (research after receiving our Ph.D.s) in the same laboratory at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. The time I spent at NIH with Keith and other lab members including Drs. Richard Nahin, Dave Thomas and Rich Traub was the most enjoyable of my career. Lunch with this group at NIH was always an experience. I remember our lunch ritual of buying a Good Humor "King Cone" ice cream for dessert. One day, much to our sadness, our King Cones were missing the extra squirt of chocolate at the bottom of the cone. We had come to expect this chocolate. Keith and the rest of us soon became outraged. How dare they cheat us! We must have our chocolate! We decided to take matters into our own hands and we wrote a letter to the Good Humor company informing them of the problem. Within a month, the Good Humor company responded with an apology, an explanation (malfunction of the chocolate delivery device), and a coupon for a free box of Good Humor ice cream. We used the coupon to get a box of King Cones and had a lab party to savor this tasty treat.

In 1990, Keith took a job at the University of Minnesota, rose through the academic ranks and received tenure in 1997. Keith's research focused on the anatomical pathways and physiological mechanisms of pain.

I always enjoyed Keith's company and made sure we kept in touch through e-mail messages, phone calls, and dinners at scientific meetings. Over the years, we had gone on ski trips together and hiked together in the Shenandoah and Cascade mountains. In fact, it was on a hiking trip in 1996 when I told Keith about my plans for "Neuroscience for Kids." He encouraged me to develop the web site and suggested several features to make the web site unique and useful.

I owe Keith a debt of gratitude for our many entertaining and lively discussions on just about everything: neuroscience, sushi, travel, sports...

Keith was my friend. I will miss him.


With summer just around the corner, it is time for many people to bring out their golf clubs. Golf should be an easy game. Take club. Hit small white ball into hole. However, beware! Those clubs can be dangerous. Several recent papers warn that children are at risk for head injuries caused by the inappropriate use of golf clubs.

Dr. J.M. Rosenow and colleagues reviewed the cases of children with head trauma who were admitted to their New York hospital clinic during a three month period (April-June 1997). Of the 49 children admitted with head trauma, four children (8%) were injured by golf clubs. All of these children were injured by other children who were practicing their golf swings. The good news is that these kids all recovered without problems. In Scotland during a three month period (June-August 1997), another team of doctors saw 23 children who suffered head injuries related to golf. Of these 23 children, 22 of them were injured while watching other people play golf. Dr. D. Parkinson, in a letter published in Surgical Neurology (May 1999), confirms that head injuries can often occur during practice swings. He even asked golf course personnel to post warning notices to alert players to watch out for swinging clubs. Dr. Parkinson also points out that flying stones and broken tees may cause eye injuries. Unfortunately, he was unsuccessful in his attempts to get warning signs posted.

So next time you bring out the golf clubs, follow the first rule of etiquette mentioned by the United States Golf Association and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews:

"Prior to playing a stroke or making a practice swing, the player should ensure that no one is standing close by or in a position to be hit by the club, the ball or any stones, pebbles, twigs or the like which may be moved by the stroke or swing." (from "The Official Rules of Golf," Chicago: Triumph Books, 1993)


McGuffie, A.C., Fitzpatrick, M.O. and Hall, D. Golf related head injuries in children: the little tigers. Scottish Medical J., 43:139-140, 1998.

Rosenow, J.M., et al. Pediatric cranial golf injuries-an emerging contemporary phenomenon. Surgical Neurology, 50:609, 1998.

Parkinson, D. Golf-related head injuries. Surgical Neurology, 51:580-581, 1999.

5. BOOK REVIEW (by Ms. Lynne Bleeker, Middle School Science Teacher/Consultant)

"101 Questions Your Brain Has Asked About Itself but Couldn't Answer ... Until Now" by Faith Hickman Brynie, The Millbrook Press, Brookfield, Connecticut, 1998, 0-7613-0400-2, 176 pages.

[Note: before reading this book review by Ms. Bleeker, you should know that I proofread this book prior to its publication and am listed in the acknowledgments. However, I did not and will not recieve any payment for this work and have no financial interest in this book - Eric H. Chudler, Ph.D.]

This is a wonderful book! The 101 interesting and thought-provoking questions come from real students. Faith Hickman Brynie obviously spent a great deal of time researching the answers; each chapter has extensive notes and sources listed at the end of the book. Her answers are clear, accurate, and well-written. The "Feature" sections at the end of each chapter contain historical information about real people and events related to the chapter's topics. The line drawings are nicely done and come at just the right point to answer questions about subjects including neurotransmitter function and brain anatomy. However, I was disappointed that there were not more photographs.

My only concern about the book involves one of the rare photographs, a photo of a sculpture of a nude male with exaggerated body parts. Librarians and teachers wishing to make this excellent book a part of their classroom collections should decide how to deal with this concern before putting the book in students' hands.

This book, though, is sure to be a hit! The book contains three terrific tables about parts of the brain, neurotransmitters and addictive drugs as well as a complete glossary, index and suggestions for further reading on the subject. I especially appreciated Ms. Brynie's sensitive handling of the question "What's the Difference Between Brain and Mind?" and her concluding remarks in the section "More Questions than Answers." Though packed with information, this book was hard to put down once I started reading it!


A. "Sleepless and Cranky" in Newsweek magazine, May 17, 1999, pages 86-88: how parents are affected by their children's sleep problems.

B. "A Straight Face" in Newsweek magazine, May 17, 1999, pages 76-78: the psychology of bluffing.

C. "New Nerve Cells for the Adult Brain," G. Kempermann and F.H. Gage, in Scientific American, May 1999, pages 48-53.

D. "Image-guided Surgery," W.E.L. Grimson, R. Kikinis, F.A. Jolesz and P. McL. Black, in Scientific American, June 1999, pages 63-69: new technologies to aid neurosurgeons.


A. The channel catfish has 100,000 taste buds on the outside of its body. (Statistic from J. Nolte, "The Human Brain. An Introduction to Its Functional Anatomy," 4th edition, 1999.)

B. The corpus callosum, the fiber tract that connects the right and left hemispheres of the brain, contains more than 300 million axons. (Statistic from J. Nolte, "The Human Brain. An Introduction to Its Functional Anatomy," 4th edition, 1999.)

C. The venom of the black widow spider is called "latrotoxin." This toxin results in the massive release of the neurotransmitter "acetylcholine" from neuromuscular junctions of its victims and may cause muscle spasms, pain, increased blood pressure, nausea and vomiting.

D. The X-ray was invented by Wilhelm Konrad Roentgen in 1895.

E. About 4 million people in the US have Alzheimer's disease. The annual cost of caring for these people is estimated to be $90 billion. (Statistic from "Brain Facts," published by the Society for Neuroscience, 1997.)


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.

"Neuroscience for Kids" is supported by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) from the National Center of Research Resources.