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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, 2014

A. The first successful human corneal transplant was performed by Eduard Konrad Zirm in 1905.

B. The ears get longer by an average of 0.22 millimeters per year from physical maturity on. (Source: Henshaw, J.M., A Tour of the Senses, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012.)

C. The "bel" in "decibel" is named after Alexander Graham Bell.

D. Eyes Ears Nose and Paws is a nonprofit organization in North Carolina that trains dogs to use their senses to help people, for example, by detecting smells that indicate a dangerous health condition. (Source: http://www.eenp.org/main/)

E. There are 1,300 nerve endings per square inch of skin in the human hand. (Source: Smithsonian magazine, January, 2014).

February, 2014

A. The European Brain Council has declared 2014 the "Year of the Brain in Europe." See:

http://www.europeanbraincouncil.org/projects/eyob/

B. The Northern Short-Tailed Shrew (Blarina brevicauda) is North America's only venomous mammal. This animal produces a neurotoxin in its salivary glands that is used to paralyze prey. (Source: Reichl, F.-X. and Ritter, L., Illustrated Handbook of Toxicology, New York: Thieme New York, 2011)

C. A 2001 postage stamp from Angola has a picture of neuroscientist Ramon y Cajal, but incorrectly labels the picture as neuroscientist Camillo Golgi. (Source: Triarhou, L. and del Cerro, M., Ramon y Cajal Erroneously Identified as Camillo Golgi on a Souvenir Postage Stamp, J. History of the Neurosciences, 21:132-138, 2012.)

D. 10% of the mouse cerebral cortex is involved with vision; 50% of the macaque monkey cerebral cortex is involved with vision. (Source: Baker, M., Through the eyes of a mouse, Nature, 502:156-158, 2013).

E. There are 200,000 neurons in primary visual cortex of the mouse and 300,000,000 neurons in primary visual cortex of the macaque monkey. (Source: Baker, M., Through the eyes of a mouse, Nature, 502:156-158, 2013).

March, 2014

A. National Football League players were diagnosed with 189 concussions during the 2012 regular season. (Source: The Scientist, February, 2014, page 14.)

B. "Umami" is the name of a basic taste when foods with glutamate are eaten and it is also the name of a Minneapolis based electro/psych band.

C. The remipede, a small aquatic animal, is the only known crustacean that uses a neurotoxin. (von Reumont, B.M., et al., The first venomous crustacean revealed by transcriptomics and functional morphology: remipede venom glands express a unique toxin cocktail contaminated by enzymes and a neurotoxin. Mol Biol Evol. 2013 Nov 7.)

D. Neuroscientist Nobel Prize winner birthdays in the month of March are Julius Wagner-Jauregg (March 7, 1857), Walter Rudolph Hess (March 17, 1881), Daniel Bovet (March 23, 1907), Bernard Katz (March 26, 1911), John Robert Vane (March 29, 1927), and Erwin Neher (March 20, 1944).

E. The Thai word for brain is "samong."

April, 2014

A. Nearly $1 billion is spent on brain scans by people with headaches in the US. (Source: NBCNews; http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/)

B. Steven Hauschka, the placekicker for the Seattle Seahawks professional football team, received his undergraduate degree in Neuroscience from Middlebury College in 2007.

C. Neuroscientist and Nobel Prize winner Rita Levi-Montalcini was born on April 22, 1909. She passed away on December 30, 2012.

D. April is Alcohol Awareness Month, National Autism Awareness Month and Sports Eye Safety Month.

E. The diameter of the common carotid artery in adults is 6 mm.

More trivia from other years:

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