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A. Bipolar disorder, a serious brain disease that causes extreme shifts in mood, energy, and functioning, affects approximately 2.3 million adults in the U.S. or about 1.2% of the population. (Source: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/manic.cfm)
B. The complete inability to taste is called ageusia and the reduced ability to taste is called hypogeusia.
C. According to a 2001 survey by the Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, accountants get the most headaches. About 49% of the accountants in the survey reported getting weekday headaches. The accountants were followed by librarians (43%), bus and truck drivers (42%) and construction workers (38%).
D. The word "dendrite" (the part of a neuron that brings information toward the cell body) comes from the Greek word meaning "tree."
E. The word "neurology" was coined by Thomas Willis in 1681.
A. Your skin is very sensitive! Humans can feel a dot that is only 0.006 mm high and 0.04 mm across when it is moved across a fingertip. A standard Braille dot is 167 times higher (Boron, W.F. and Boulpaep, E.L., Medical Physiology, A Cellular and Molecular Approach, Philadelphia: Saunders, 2003).
B. In 2001, 17,448 people died in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes. That is 41% of the year's total traffic deaths (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation. Traffic safety facts 2001: alcohol. Washington (DC): NHTSA; 2002.
C. Parkinson's disease affects 1-3% of people over the age of 65 years and 10% of those over 80 years (Science, 295:809, 2002).
D. The vertebral column, the collection of bones (back bone) that houses the spinal cord, is approximately 70 cm long.
E. Thomas Edison, the famous inventor, thought that sleep was a waste of time. He is reported to have said, "Sleep is an acquired habit. Cells don't sleep. Fish swim in the water all night. Even a horse doesn't sleep. A man doesn't need any sleep."
A. In 2001, the use of GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate) resulted in 3,340 emergency-room visits in the U.S., according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (Source: Newsweek, February 3, 2003, page 52.)
B. The average intelligence quotient (IQ) score is 100. About 68% of the population has IQ scores between 85 and 115; about 95% of the population has IQ scores between 70 and 130; about 99.7% of the population has IQ scores between 55 and 145.
C. The word "retina" comes from the Latin word meaning "net."
D. Normal eye pressure ranges from 10-22 mm Hg.
E. "Cataract" comes from the Latin word "cataracta" meaning "waterfall" because looking through a waterfall is similar to the vision that results from cataracts.
A. The number of neurons in the neocortex of females is 19.3 billion; in males, the number of neurons in the neocortex is 22.8 billion.
B. The average number of neocortical neurons lost is 1 each second or approximately 85,000 each day or approximately 31 million each year.
C. The average number of neocortical glial cells in young adults is 39 billion; in older adults, there are 36 billion glial cells.
D. The length of myelinated nerve fibers in the brain is 150,000-180,000 km.
E. The number of synapses in the cortex is 0.15 quadrillion.
(Sources: Pakkenberg, B., Pelvig, D., Marner, L., Bundgaard, M.J., Gundersen, H.J.G., Nyengaard, J.R. and Regeur, L., Aging and the human neocortex, Exp. Gerontology, 38:95-99, 2003; Pakkenberg, B. and Gundersen, H.J.G. Neocortical neuron number in humans: effect of sex and age. J. Comp. Neurology, 384:312-320, 1997.)
A. Composer Ludwig van Beethoven may have been poisoned by lead. Researchers at Argonne Research Laboratory found that a lock of Beethoven's hair had lead levels 100 times greater than normal. Scientists speculate that lead may have caused some of the problems (irritability, depression) that Beethoven experienced during his life.
B. Smells and tastes are experienced in approximately 1% of all dreams. (Reference: Zadra, A.L., Nielsen, T.A., Donderi, D.C. Prevalence of auditory, olfactory, and gustatory experiences in home dreams, Perceptual and Motor Skills, 87:819-826, 1998.)
C. In a 7-year study, people who ate at least one serving of seafood once a week had a 30% lower risk of developing dementia than those who ate less seafood. (Reference: Discover magazine, March 2003, page 10.)
D. Throughout most of the 1990s, the number of doctoral degrees that U.S. universities awarded in science and engineering climbed steadily, to 27,300 in 1998; but by 2001, the number had dropped to 25,500, the lowest number since 1993. (Reference: Science News, March 8, 2003.)
E. Universities receiving the most grant money from the National Institutes of Health:
(Reference: The Scientist, February 10, 2003, page 14.)
A. The brain of a grasshopper has approximately 16,000 neurons. (Source: Greenfield, S., The Human Mind Explained: An Owner's Guide to the Mysteries of the Mind, New York: Henry Holt, 1996, page 55.)
B. An eagle can see a rabbit from three miles away. (Source: Greenfield, S., The Human Mind explained: An Owner's Guide to the Mysteries of the Mind, New York: Henry Holt, 1996, page 90.)
C. The vagus nerve, important for controlling the functions of many internal organs, gets its name from the Latin word meaning "wandering."
D. Rubbing baby teeth with the brain of a rabbit is an old folk remedy to prevent tooth decay. As far as I know, this method does NOT work. (Source: Bauer, W.W. Potions, Remedies and Old Wives' Tales. Garden City (NY): Doubleday & Co., Inc, 1969.)
E. Roman emperor Elagabalus (3rd Century) was served 600 ostrich brains at a single meal. (Source: Wells, D. 100 Birds and How they Got Their Names. Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 2002.)
A. Some people, such as professional perfumers, can distinguish between 100,000 different smells.(Source: Bear, M.F., Connors, B.W. and Pradiso, M.A., Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain, 2nd edition, Baltimore: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2001, p. 267)
B. The word "brain" appears 66 times in the plays of William Shakespeare. (Source: The Scientist, April 21, 2003)
C. "Rabies" comes from the Latin word "rabere," meaning "to rave" as well as a Sanskrit word for doing violence. (Source: Discover, March 2003)
D. In a 7-year study, people who ate at least one serving of seafood once a week had a 30% lower risk of developing dementia than those who ate less seafood. (Source: Discover, March 2003, page 10)
E. The Society for Neuroscience had 31,206 members in 2002. (Source: http://www.sfn.org/content/Publications/AnnualProgressReport/2002ar.pdf)
A. The famous French writer/philosopher Voltaire (born 1694, died 1778) is said to have consumed 50 cups of coffee a day. If we assume that each cup of coffee had 75 mg of caffeine, then Voltaire would have consumed 3,750 mg of caffeine a day. (Source: Somani, S.M. and Gupta, P. Caffeine: a new look at an age-old drug, Int. J. Clin. Pharmacol., Ther. and Toxicol., 26:521-533, 1988.)
B. The ancient Roman goddess of wisdom and war is named Minerva (Athena in Greek mythology). She was the daughter of Jupiter. Minerva supposedly was born when she leaped from Jupiter's brain, completely grown and dressed in armor.
C. The human retina contains approximately 120 million rods and 6 million cones. Rods are cells used in dim light; cones are cells used for color vision.
D. The movie "Rainman" starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise was inspired by a real person named Kim Peek. Mr. Peek has autism and he also has an incredible memory: he has memorized 7,600 books and every area code, zip code, highway and television station in the United States. (Source: Garrett, B., Brain and Behavior, Belmont (CA): Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 2003, page 354.)
E. Throughout most of the 1990s, the number of doctoral degrees that U.S. universities awarded in science and engineering climbed steadily, to 27,300 in 1998, but by 2001, the number had dropped to 25,500, the lowest number since 1993. (Source: Science News, March 8, 2003.)
A. Competitive eating champion Takeru Kobayashi set a world record by eating 57 pan-seared cow brains (17.7 pounds) in 15 minutes. (Source: Parade Magazine, July 13, 2003, page 11.)
B. The channel catfish has a chemical sensing system that can detect the equivalent of less than one-hundredth of a teaspoon (1 to 100 micrograms per liter) of alanine (an amino acid) in an Olympic-size swimming pool. (Source: Schmidt-Nelson, K., Animal Physiology. Adaptation and Environment, 5th edition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997, page 536.)
C. The bill of the platypus is equipped with sensory receptors to detect electrical fields. It may use this ability to find food. (Source: Schmidt-Nelson, K., Animal Physiology. Adaptation and Environment, 5th edition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997, page 560.)
D. In 2001, there were over 638,000 emergency department visits related to drug abuse in the U.S. The three drugs that caused the most visits to emergency departments were alcohol (34%), cocaine (30%) and marijuana (17%) (Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, The Dawn Report, June 2003.)
E. Louis Braille invented the system of reading by touch (the Braille system) when he was only 15 years old.
A. An octopus has receptors for taste on the suckers in its arms. (Source: Hanlon, R.T. and Messenger, J.B., Cephalpod Behavior, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.)
B. Phobias are irrational fears of particular objects or situations. Some unusual phobias are:
C. Within the US in 1990, approximately $1.6 billion was used to eliminate or mask underarm odors. (Source: Wyatt, T.D., Pheromones and Animal Behavior. Communication by Smell and Taste, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003, p. 295.)
D. The Society for Neuroscience has 32,507 members. (Source: Society for Neuroscience, Neuroscience Quarterly, Summer 2003, page 9.)
E. The rate of fatal alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes among drivers between 16 and 20 years old who use alcohol is more than twice the rate for drivers aged 21 years and older. (Source: Alcohol Alert, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Vol. 59, April 2003.)
A. In the United States, 50 billion aspirin tablets are consumed each year. (Source: A.S. Harding, Milestones in Health and Medicine, Phoenix (AZ) Oryx Press, 2000.)
B. Atropine, a drug that blocks receptors for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, is made from the poisonous Atropa belladonna plant. Carolus Linnaeus named this plant family Atropos after the Fate in Greek mythology who cuts the thread of life. (Source: A.S., Harding. Milestones in Health and Medicine, Phoenix (AZ) Oryx Press, 2000.)
C. Leonardo da Vinci designed contact lenses made of glass filled with water. (Source: A.S. Harding, Milestones in Health and Medicine,, Phoenix (AZ) Oryx Press, 2000.)
D. Mr. Jeffries, a Bassett Hound, is the dog with the longest ears. His ears measure 29.2 cm (11.5 in) in length. (Source: Guinness World Records)
E. Drunken behavior and violent crimes involving adolescent drinking cost the US $53 billion per year, including $19 million from traffic accidents. The US government spends 25 times as much on anti-drug campaigns as it does on preventing adolescents from drinking. (Source: National Academy of Sciences, reported in Time, September 22, 2003, page 78.)
A. The bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae causes more than 3,000 cases of meningitis in the US each year. (Source: Discover, April 2003, page 23.)
B. John Adams (2nd President of the US) and his son, John Quincy Adams (6th President of the US), were both born in Braintree, Massachusetts.
C. In 2001, approximately 22.8% of the adults in the US were smokers. In 1993, approximately 25.0% of the adults in the US were smokers. (Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 52:953-956, 2003.)
D. Adolf Eugen Fick coined the term "contact lens." He made the first contact lens for vision correction from glass in 1887. (Source: A.S. Harding, Milestones in Health and Medicine, Phoenix (AZ) Oryx Press, 2000.)
E. Right-footed African Grey parrots have a larger vocabulary than left-footed African Grey parrots. (Source: Snyder, P.J. and Harris, L.J. Lexicon size and its relation to foot preference in the African Grey parrot "Psittacus erithacus", Neuropsychologia, 35:919-926, 1997.)
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