Volume 10, Issue 3 (March, 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. Neuroscience for Kids Writing Contest - Results!
4. Brain Awareness Week
5. Human Subject
6. Media Alert
7. Treasure Trove of Brain Trivia
8. Support Neuroscience for Kids
9. How to Stop Your Subscription


Neuroscience for Kids had several new additions in February including:

A. February Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived
B. New Alzheimer's Disease Study Seeks Volunteers
C. Do Wild Elephants Get Drunk?

In February, 4 new figures were added and 43 pages were modified.


The Neuroscience for Kids "Site of the Month" for March is "Inside the Brain: An Interactive Tour" at:

The Alzheimer's Association has created "Inside the Brain: An Interactive Tour" to explain how the brain works and how Alzheimer’s disease affects the brain. The site consists of 16 interactive slides that allow users to highlight special features on each image. The first seven slides explain the basic anatomy and physiology of the brain. The last nine slides illustrate how Alzheimer's disease damages the brain. Side-by-side images that compare a healthy brain to a brain damaged by Alzheimer's disease are especially useful.

For more information about Alzheimer's disease, visit the main Alzheimer's Association web site at:


Judging of the 2006 NEUROSCIENCE FOR KIDS WRITING CONTEST is finished and winners have been mailed their prizes. A total of 602 students from 25 states and four countries sent in poems. From the United States, poems arrived from Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. From outside the United States, students sent poems from Canada, India and South Korea. Here are some of the winning poems:

From Chakym C., a second grader in Douglas, GA (Kindergarten through Grade 2; poem in any style):

 Wrinkled, gray
 Helps me think,
 It is full of knowledge

From Akis P., a third grader in Gainesville, FL (Grade 3 to Grade 5; poem must rhyme):

 Athena was born out of Zeus' brain,
 He had to endure a lot of pain.
 Athena was very, very wise,
 But it's our brain that really flies.

 Our brain can think and smell the flowers,
 And lets us travel the world in hours.
 When we play and have a lot of fun,
 It's our brain that keeps us safe on the run.

From Samantha L., a sixth grader in Merrimack, NH (Grade 6 to Grade 8; poem must be a haiku):

 Searching for the clue
 Puzzled what the brain can do
 Neuroscience blues.

From Ariana W., an eleventh grader in Spokane, WA (Grade 9 to Grade 12; poem must be a limerick):

 I have billions of cells in my noggin,
 That order my limbs when I'm joggin'.
 When the oxygen flows,
 I thinks and I knows,
 That the brain's a real technical organ!

Thank you to Capstone Press, Bridgestone Books, Compass Point Books and the Dana Press for donating prizes for the contest.


International Brain Awareness Week (BAW) is this month from March 13-19! I hope you have plans. It may not be too late to find a neuroscientist to visit your class. Visit the Society for Neuroscience web site to locate a neuroscientist near you:

The American Psychological Association also has a list of speakers:

Here at the University of Washington, 300 students will attend the 9th annual BAW Open House on March 22. The Open House will feature hands-on, interactive exhibits sponsored by researchers and staff from various university departments and organizations. If you would like to share what you did during BAW, send me (e-mail: a summary of your activities and I will try to include it in a future issue of the Neuroscience for Kids newsletter.

Even if you cannot organize a brain fair or a classroom visit by a neuroscientist, you can still participate in BAW with some lessons about the brain and nervous system. Neuroscience for Kids has some "brainy" ideas for a day, a week or a whole month:

By the way, March 13-17 is also Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week. For more information about Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week, see:


Last month as I was sitting at my office desk, I heard a knock on my door. A researcher poked her head into my office and asked me if I wanted to be a subject for a experiment. I asked what the experiment was about and how much time it would take. She replied that her group was developing a virtual reality game that could be used to reduce discomfort when people are having painful medical procedures such as a spinal tap. The experiment would last only one hour and I would receive $30. This sounded like a worthy study. The next day, I spent my lunch hour as a human guinea pig.

Before the experiment started, the researcher explained the purpose of the study, the benefits her results could have, the procedures that would be done, the risks involved and how the data would be used. This type of explanation is given to each participant before they are part of an experiment. I signed two papers to show that the study was explained to me.

I was then led into the lab where a small block was placed on my back. The temperature of the block was increased for a few seconds and I was asked to rate my pain. The experiment required that I tolerate a temperature that was hot, but not too hot. I answered a few questions about the pain caused by the block and then played a virtual reality video game for five minutes. While I played the game, the temperature of the block was increased again. After I finished the game, I again rated the pain caused by the block.

After the experiment was finished, I learned that I was in the experimental group. Another group of subjects (the control group) watched the video game, but did not get to play the game. By comparing the results of the two groups, researchers will be able to determine if playing the virtual reality game affected pain perception more than just watching the game.

I hope that my participation in the study will help in the development of a new treatment for pain. Volunteering for an experiment is a great way to learn how science is done -- and the extra pocket money is nice too.


A. The new Scientific American "Mind" issue is on newsstands now. Included in this issue are the following articles:

Do Animals Have Feelings?
Combating Stress in Iraq
Science Probes Spirituality
Mastery of Emotions
Fighting Parkinson's

B. "Lower the Volume" by Ranit Mishori (Parade magazine, February 5, 2006) discusses hearing loss and ways to protect your hearing.

C. "The cover story of the February 20, 2006 issue of US News & World Report is titled "Miracle of Brain Repair."

D. The January/February issue of Neurology Now is available with stories about former Attorney General Janet Reno and her battle with Parkinson's disease and country singer Clay Walker and his battle with multiple sclerosis. Remember, you can get a free subscription to Neurology Now at:

E. "Learning to Find Your Way" by Eric R. Kandel (Natural History, March, 2006) describes how the brain forms memories about space.


This month's trivia all have to do with cocaine, the addictive central nervous system stimulant. (All statistics from Karch, S.B., A Brief History of Cocaine. From Inca Monarchs to Cali Cartels: 500 Years of Cocaine Dealing, Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press, 2006.)

A. Approximately 520 tons of cocaine entered the United States in 2002.

B. A ton contains 1,016,000 grams or 2,032,000 half-gram rocks of crack cocaine. A half-gram rock of crack cocaine sells for $10-20.

C. The net value of 520 tons of cocaine is about $16 billion.

D. John Styth Pemberton, the man who invented Coca-Cola, was addicted to morphine.

E. Sigmund Freud recommended that cocaine should be used to treat morphine and alcohol addiction.


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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.