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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, 2019

This month's brain trivia include some real "brainy" locations around the world:

A. Stroll down Cortex Street in Lagos, Nigeria, and or on Cortex Circle in Ardmore, Oklahoma.

B. Sip coffee at The Amygdala Café in Milan, Italy.

C. Vacation at Hotel Hippocampus in Kotor, Montenegro.

D. Swim in Pineal Lake in Ontario, Canada.

E. Walk on Spinal Road in KwaDabeka, South Africa.

I discovered these places using Google Maps

February, 2019

A. An estimated one in four adults worldwide will have a stroke sometime in their lifetime. (Source: The GBD 2016 Lifetime Risk of Stroke Collaborators, Global, regional, and country-specific lifetime risks of stroke, 1990 and 2016, New England Journal Medicine, 379:2429-2437, 2018, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1804492)

B. Composer Johann Sebastian Bach (born, 1685; died, 1750) was totally blind after a failed eye operation to treat his cataracts (Source: Tarkkanen, A., Blindness of Johann Sebastian Bach, Acta Ophthalmol., 91:191-192, 2013.)

C. The aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) is thought to be the only primate that uses echolocation to find food. (Source:

D. The Ganges river dolphin (Platanista gangetica) does not have a lens in its eye.

E. The fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) produces neurotoxins that can be sprayed at attackers.

March, 2019

A. Author Mark Twain published a memory building game in 1892. (Source:

B. The brain of a porcupine weighs about 25 grams.

C. The lens of the eye is 65% water and 35% protein (Source: Riordan-Eva, P. and Whitcher, J.P., Vaughan & Asbury's General Ophthalmology, 17th ed., New York: Lange Medical Books, 2008)

D. The diameter of common carotid artery is 6 mm.

E. About 80 percent of adults experience low back pain sometime in their lifetimes. (Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, NIH, Low Back Pain Fact Sheet, 2018).

April, 2019

A. Scientists successfully recorded brain activity using EEG from a person who was just about to bungee jump. (Source: Nann, et al., To jump or not to jump - The Bereitschaftspotential required to jump into 192-meter abyss. Scientific Reports, 2019; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-38447-w)

B. Actor Luke Perry ("90210" and "Riverdale" star) passed away last month after suffering a stroke; he was 52 years old.

C. In the United States, an average of 283,000 children (younger than 18 years old) visit emergency departments each year for sports- and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries. (Source: Sarmiento, K., Thomas, K.E., Daugherty, J., et al. Emergency Department Visits for Sports- and Recreation-Related Traumatic Brain Injuries Among Children -- United States, 2010-2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2019;68:237-242. DOI:

D. In 1727, Edward Scarlett developed eyeglasses that are held by arms that hook over a person's ears.

E. An estimated 2.4 million people around the world are diagnosed with epilepsy each year. (Source: World Health Organization, Epilepsy,

May, 2019

A. Paul Greengard, an American neuroscientist who won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2000 for his work about signal transduction in the nervous system, passed away last month (April 13, 2019) at the age of 93 years old.

B. In Greek mythology, Mnemosyne is the goddess of memory.

C. May is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Awareness Month, Better Sleep Month, Health Vision Month, Huntington's Disease Awareness Month, Mental Health Month, and Stroke Awareness Month.

D. The long-eared jerboa, a small rodent, has the largest ears relative to its body size. This animal's ears are two-thirds as long as its body.

E. An American proverb states: "We need brain more than belly food."

June, 2019

A. Thorazine, an antipsychotic drug approved for use in the United States in 1954, was named after Thor, the Norse god of thunder.

B. Coffea charrieriana is the only known caffeine-free coffee plant.

C. Sweden has issued stamps commemorating the work of several neuroscientists. See these stamps and those from other countries here:

D. The South African scorpion (Parabuthus transvaalicus) produces a neurotoxin called Kurtoxin that affects voltage-gated sodium channels and calcium channels on nerve cells.

E. Water/pool activities and basketball account for the most sports-related eye injuries in kids up to 14 years of age. (Source: Prevent Blindness,

July, 2019

A. Elephants can use their sense of smell to distinguish between 150 and 180 sunflower seeds (Source: NOVA:

B. Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton, WI, is the home park for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, a Class A minor league baseball team.

C. A sneeze occurs when receptors of the trigeminal nerve are irritated. During a sneeze, an estimated 40,000 particles, ranging in size from 0.5 to 5 mm, are expelled from the nose at speeds between 150 km/h and 1,045 km/h. (Source: Songu, M. and Cingi, C., Sneeze reflex: facts and fiction, Therapeutic Adv. Resp. Disease, 3:131-141, 2009.)

D. It was once believed that rabies could be cured by placing the hair of the dog that bit the person on the wound.

E. The diameter of the ear canal is 0.7 cm.

August, 2019

The month's brain trivia all come from "The Soul of an Octopus. A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness" by Sy Montgomery (New York: Atria Paperback, 2015).

A. Three fifths of the neurons in an octopus are found in its arms, not in its brain.

B. An octopus brain has 50 to 75 different lobes.

C. An octopus eye can detect polarized light.

D. An octopus can see only about eight feet away.

E. An octopus has only one visual pigment in its eye; it may be able to "see" color using its skin.

September, 2019

A. Approximately 3 million adults in the United States have epilepsy. (Source: Zack, M.M., Kobau, R., National and State Estimates of the Numbers of Adults and Children with Active Epilepsy - United States, 2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2017;66:821-825. DOI:

B. In Greek mythology, Hypnos is the Greek god of sleep.

C. The resting membrane potential of a neuron is about -70 mV.

D. International Left-Handers Day is observed on August 13 of each year.

E. Diploria labyrinthiformis is the scientific name of a grooved brain coral found in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.

October, 2019

A. Talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel suffers from narcolepsy (Source: New York Times Magazine, November 3, 2002.)

B. Mammillaria Elongata 'Cristata' is also known as the Brain Cactus because of its shape.

C. Amygdaloid Lake and Amygdaloid Island are both located in Houghton Township, Michigan.

D. "To repeat what others have said, requires education; to challenge it, requires brains." (Source: Mary Pettibone Poole from her book, A Glass Eye at a Keyhole, 1938.)

E. Captive giant armadillos sleep about 18.1 hours each day.

More trivia from other years:

2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 |
2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998

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