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Neuroscience For Kids

Treasure Trove of Brain Trivia

A collection of trivia about the brain and nervous system from the archives of the Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter. For more trivia about the brain, see brain facts and figures.

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January, 2024

A. Eating strawberries may reduce the risk of dementia for middle-aged people (Source: Krikorian, R., Early intervention in cognitive aging with strawberry supplementation, Nutrients, 2023; 15(20): 4431 DOI: 10.3390/nu15204431).

B. Chinstrap penguins (Pygoscelis antarcticus) take about 10,000 very short naps of around 4 seconds each day (Source: Libourel, P-A. et al., Nesting chinstrap penguins accrue large quantities of sleep through seconds-long microsleeps, Science, 382:1026-1031, 2023, DOI:10.1126/science.adh0771).

C. The 2023 Collins Dictionary word of the year is "AI."

D. There are approximately 49,940 neurosurgeons in the world (Source: Mukhopadhyay, S., et al., The global neurosurgical workforce: a mixed-methods assessment of density and growth, J. Neurosurg., 130:1142-1148, 2019).

E. Approximately 1 in 4,000 people are born with a partially or completely missing corpus callosum. The corpus callosum is the large nerve fiber tract that connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain (Source: NINDS).

February, 2024

A. Reindeer may be able to sleep and eat at the same time (Source: Furrer, M., et al., Reindeer in the Arctic reduce sleep need during rumination, Current Biology, 2023, https://doi.org/1 0.1016/j.cub.2023.12.01).

B. Focused ultrasound may open the blood-brain barrier and allow more efficient delivery of drugs to treat Alzheimer's disease (Source: Rezai, A.R., et al., Ultrasound blood-brain barrier opening and Aducanumab in Alzheimer's disease, N. Engl. J. Med. 390:55-62, 2024).

C. A diet that includes Kiwi fruit may be able to improve mood in as little as four days (Source: Fletcher, B.D., et al., Smartphone survey data reveals the timecourse of changes in mood outcomes following vitamin C or kiwifruit intervention in adults with low vitamin C, British J. Nutrition, 2023; 1 DOI: 10.1017/S0007114523002787).

D. Proteins make up about 60% of the total mass of the lens of the eye (Source: Wistow, G.J. and, Piatigorsky J. Lens crystallins: the evolution and expression of proteins for a highly specialized tissue, Annu. Rev. Biochem., 57:479-504, 1988).

E. A Nile crocodile with a body mass of 90 kg has only 83 million neurons in its brain (Source: Kverkov√°, K., et al., The evolution of brain neuron numbers in amniotes. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U S A., Mar 15;119(11):e2121624119, 2022).

More trivia from other years:

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2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998

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