Volume 10, Issue 11 (November, 2006)


Welcome to the Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter.

Here is what you will find in this issue:

1. What's New at Neuroscience for Kids
2. Neuroscience for Kids Site of the Month
3. University of Washington Brain Awareness Week Open House
4. Sam's Brainy Adventure - The Play
5. Neuroscience for Kids Drawing Contest - NOW OPEN
6. Body Worlds 2
7. Book Review
8. Media Alert
9. Treasure Trove of Brain Trivia
10. Support Neuroscience for Kids
11. How to Stop Your Subscription


Neuroscience for Kids had several new additions in September including:

A. October Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived
B. Script for Sam's Brainy Adventure (PDF file)
C. Caffeinated Decaf

In October, 10 new figures were added and 58 pages were modified.


The Neuroscience for Kids "Site of the Month" for November is "Web-Based Veterinary Anatomy Instruction" at:

This month's site was developed by the veterinary anatomy faculty at the University of Minnesota. Although the site focuses on the anatomy of cats, dogs and sheep, the information can be used by anyone interested in learning about the nervous system.

The web site is divided in three main sections: 1) Veterinary Gross Anatomy, 2) Veterinary Neurobiology, and 3) Additional Instruction Material. In the Veterinary Gross Anatomy section, you can learn about planes of section, internal body structures, autonomic nervous system pathways, limb movement and developmental anatomy. In the Neurobiology section, the neuroanatomy of the brain and spinal cord, and the structure of neurons are discussed. You can also view video clips of some patients (dogs and cats) with various neurological problems. These videos are used to educate veterinary students about conditions they might treat.

The web site is full of images, photographs, videos and animations to help people understand the nervous system. If you own a dog or cat (or want to become a veterinarian), then visit this web site for an inside look at what is going on inside your pet's head.


Do you want to bring your students (grades 4-12) to the 2007 Brain Awareness Week (BAW) Open House at the University of Washington on Tuesday, March 6, 2007? The BAW Open House registration form is posted on the UW Brain Awareness Week web site:

If you would like a registration form sent to you by email, please contact me:


"Sam's Brainy Adventure" started out as an online comic strip as a fun way to learn about neurons and the brain. Then some people wanted it as a book so that they could read it anywhere. Now "Sam's Brainy Adventure" can be brought to the stage and as short play. You can download the script for the play (and the comic strip and book) at:

If you will be performing the play, please let me know and I will try to catch the performance!


Get out your pencils, pens and markers! The NEUROSCIENCE FOR KIDS DRAWING CONTEST is now open to students in kindergarten through high school. Use your imagination to draw a picture about the brain and you might win a prize. The complete set of rules and the official entry form for the contest are available at:

Here is a brief set of drawing contest rules:

A. Drawings must be done by hand using pencils, pens, markers, and/or crayons and submitted on an official entry form (or copy of the form).

B. Entries will be divided into four categories based on age. Drawings in each group should be about the following topics:

Kindergarten to Grade 2: "My brain helps me ________________."

Grade 3 to Grade 5: "Brain Fitness: I keep my brain healthy by _________."

Grade 6 to Grade 8: "My brain is like a _______ because___________."

Grade 9 to Grade 12: "Brain research is important because __________."

C. To enter the drawing contest, mail your completed entry form to the address listed on the entry form.

D. Entries must be received by February 1, 2007, and will not be returned. Winners will be announced no later than March 1, 2007.

E. Drawings will be judged by the staff of Neuroscience for Kids or by other individuals designated by Dr. Eric H. Chudler. Drawings will be judged on the basis of originality, scientific accuracy and overall design.

F. There will be several winners in each age group. Winners will be awarded a neuroscience book or other prize related to the brain.

Contact Dr. Chudler with any questions about the contest:

Good luck to everyone!


Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life On The Inside by Katrina Firlik, New York: Random House, 2006, 271 pages (ISBN: 1400063205]

Reading Level: High School

Do you want to be a neurosurgeon? Would you like to know how to become a neurosurgeon and what it feels like to be in the operating room? If your answer to any of these questions is "YES," then the book "Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside" by Dr. Katrina Firlik is for you.

Dr. Firlik was the first woman admitted to neurosurgery residency program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. She wrote her book using notes she took while she was a young neurosurgeon. Although most of the book is devoted to the years she spent soon after she graduated from medical school, she does briefly discuss her life before medical school and after her residency.

Throughout the book, Dr. Firlik describes some of the interesting patients she has treated. From a man shot accidentally in the head with a nail gun to trauma patients with head injuries to people with brain tumors, infections and diseases -- Firlik has seen it all and she takes readers on a journey through the care she has given to help each person.

In the words of Dr. Firlik (page 3):

"I am a neurosurgeon. The brain is my business."


Last month when I was in Boston, I visited the Museum of Science to view the exhibit titled "Body Worlds 2: The Anatomical Exhibition of Real Human Bodies." The exhibit features real human bodies and body parts to help people learn about anatomy, physiology and health.

The material has been subjected to the process of plastination. Plastination removes all water from the tissues and replaces it with fluid plastic. The resulting tissue is dry and completely odorless. Some of the body parts are displayed in glass cases, but the whole bodies are out in the open without any barriers.

Different sections of the exhibit highlight different body systems. Although I spent most of my time in the nervous system section of the exhibit, I found the circulatory system material equally interesting. Displays of healthy and diseased tissue (for example, lungs of a smoker) are sure to make people think about their own lifestyle choices.

Let's be honest now. The exhibit is not for everyone. When I visited the museum on a Friday evening, most of the visitors were adults and there were only a few kids. The exhibit is appropriate for middle and high school students who are prepared to learn about the human body. The Museum of Science web site offers educational information for middle and high school teachers and parents to be used with kids before and after a visit. The official Body Worlds web site recommends the exhibit for students starting in fifth grade and states that children younger than 13 years old must be accompanied by responsible adults.

Official Body Worlds web site at:

Current Body Worlds exhibits are in:
* St. Paul (MN): until December 3, 2006
* Boston (MA): until January 7, 2007
* Vancouver (B.C.): until January 14, 2007

Future Body World exhibits are in:
* Dallas (TX): starting December 9, 2006
* Chicago (IL): starting January, 2007


A. The cover story of the October 9, 2006, issue of TIME magazine is titled "How We Became Human." The issue includes an article by Alice Park describing the research going on at the Allen Institute for Brain Science.

B. "Scents and Sensibility" by Jeremy Caplan (TIME magazine, October 16, 2006) discusses research about how smells affect a shopper's behavior.

C. "Things Your Pet Sees That You Don't" by Sarah Wilson and Brian Kilcommons (Parade magazine, October 15, 2006) discusses the amazing sensory abilities of dogs, cats and birds.

D. "Science and the Soul" is the cover story of the October 23, 2006 issue of US News and World Report. This article discusses consciousness and what it means to be human.

E. The cover story in the November, 2006 issue of Scientific American is about autism. The article "Broken Mirrors: A Theory of Autism" by Vilayanur S. Ramachandran and Lindsay M. Oberman discusses the possible causes of autism. The magazine also contains "Mirrors in the Mind" by Giacomo Rizzolatti, Leonardo Fogassi and Vittorio Gallese about mirror neurons and "Not Imagining It" by David Biello about research with hallucinogens.

F. "How to Read a Face" by Anne Underwood (Newsweek magazine, October 23, 2006) discusses how conscious and unconscious signals help people find out about others.


A. The optic nerves carry 38% of all nerve fibers that enter or leave the brain. (Source: Alward, W.L.M., A new angle on ocular development, Science, 299:1527-1528, 2003.)

B. More than 1.6 million Americans use complementary and alternative medicine to treat insomnia or trouble sleeping. (Source: NIH News,

C. Sir Charles Scott Sherrington, who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1932 for his work on the functions of nerve cells, was born on November 27, 1857.

D. Galen (129-201 A.D.), a famous Roman anatomist, advised people with toothaches to rub their gums with the brains of a hare. (Source: Wynbrandt, J., The Excruciating History of Dentistry, New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998.)

E. Sleep is divided into two states: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. People spend 75-80% of their sleep time in NREM sleep and 20-25% of their sleep time in REM sleep. (Source: Rama, A.N., Cho, S.C. and Kushida, C.A., Normal human sleep, in T. Lee-Chiong ed., "Sleep: A Comprehensive Handbook", Hoboken (NJ): John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2006)


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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.