Volume 10, Issue 5 (May, 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. 2006 UW Brain Awareness Week Reports
4. Museum Program for People with Alzheimer's Disease
5. Summer Teacher Institutes at UWEB
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 April including:

A. April Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived
B. Teens Losing Sleep
C. My Brain and Me (an online book for young readers)

In April, 18 new figures were added and 52 pages were modified.


The Neuroscience for Kids "Site of the Month" for May is "The History of Phrenology on the Web":

In the middle 1800s, the "science" of phrenology was at its peak. Phrenologists believed that the shape and bumps on a person's skull were accurate measures of the person's abilities and skills. Dr. John van Wyhe, a science historian at the University of Cambridge, has created "The History of Phrenology on the Web" to document this the old practice.

The web site is divided into seven main sections:

A. "What was phrenology?" provides an overview of phrenology separating fact from fiction.

B. "Phrenology in literature" details how Victorian books were influenced by phrenology.

C. "The phrenological Organs (the bumps) contains different lists that assign specific functions to different skull bump.

D. "Texts" provides the complete books and articles from original papers written about phrenology.

E. "Images" has pictures of portraits, busts and skulls used by phrenologists.

F. "Critical Bibliography" lists books written about phrenology.

G. "Ridiculing phrenology" discusses how phrenology was criticized by people who did not believe in the science.

Dr. van Wyhe is careful to point out that some of the basic ideas of phrenology have proved to be true. For example, different parts of the brain are specialized for different tasks. However, feeling the bumps on someone's skull will not reveal anything about the person's personality or abilities.


People around the world celebrated Brain Awareness Week last March. Here are two BAW reports from Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter readers:

A. The Children's Museum of Montana (CMOM) and the local AAUW (American Association of University Women) opened "Gray Matters -- An Exhibit on the Brain," in Great Falls, Montana on March 25. This exhibit was a continuation of the Brain Boxes which were extensions of the Pacific Science Center's Brain Power Van and the University of Washington Summer Institute (2000 and 2001) when teachers from Great Falls attended.

B. In celebration of Brain Awareness Week, The Monarch School (Houston, Texas) for children with neurological disorders offered its students an array of activities, including a mobile High Ropes Challenge course.


Since January 2006, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City has conducted a special program for people in the early to middle stages of Alzheimer's disease. This "Meet Me at MoMA" program includes a tour of MoMA's collection of modern art, a discussion in the galleries and art-making exercises. The program is run by specially trained MoMA educators who will take visitors to view the works of artists such as Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Henri Rousseau, and Andrew Wyeth.

According to a MoMA press release:

"In pilot programs, Museum educators have learned that the act of looking at art can be a rich and satisfying experience for people without full access to their memory, providing relaxation and pleasure for those who live with Alzheimer’s. Caregivers also enjoy the opportunity to see participants express themselves in the intimate and visually stimulating setting of the galleries."

"Meet Me at MoMA" is free and advance registration is required. The last program of the spring will be held on May 23, 2006.

For registration and more information about "Meet Me at MoMA", call 212-708-9864.


This summer, middle and high school teachers can go "back to school" at the University of Washington Engineered Biomaterials (UWEB) Science Teacher Institutes. UWEB will offer four three-day programs for teachers:

Build Me Up, Scotty! (July 25, 2006 - July 27, 2006) discusses the topic of tissue engineering and stem cell research.

Stick This In Your Ear! (August 1, 2006 - August 3, 2006) addresses the science and ethics of cochlear implants.

What's Growing On? (August 8, 2006 - August 10, 2006) combines math and science to examine growth through the kingdoms.

Youth Take Heart (July 12, 2006 - July 14, 2006) discusses heart anatomy and physiology, diet and lifestyle factors that promote heart health, and how bioengineering can help treat heart disease.

Teachers will receive a stipend, University of Washington credits, and are allowed to check out curriculum and kit materials to use in their classrooms during the school year. For details and registration materials for these summer programs, see:


A. "Reason to be Happy" by Marianne Szegedy-Maszak (US News and World Report, April 10, 2006) discusses how chronic depression may affect your health.

B. "I Smell, Therefore I Think" (Discover magazine, May 2006, pages 28-29) explores the world of smell (olfaction), and how it may relate to language.

C. Sesame Street presents "The Body," a new, interactive traveling exhibit for children between the ages of 2 to 8 years. For more about the exhibit and where you can see it, visit:

D. The April/May 2006 issue of Scientific American Mind, "Human See, Human Do" is now available. Articles in this issue include:

* A Revealing Reflection (mirror neurons)
* Freud Returns
* Psychotherapy on Trial
* Bird Brains? Hardly
* Staying Sober (effects of alcohol on brain chemistry)
* Hunting for Answers (Huntington's disease)
* Electric Thoughts? (neural networks influence computer design)

E. "Why Women Can't Sleep" is the cover article of Newsweek magazine (April 24, 2006 issue).

F. "Shutting Down Alzheimer's" by Michael S. Wolfe (Scientific American, May, 2006 issue) discusses new strategies to fight Alzheimer's disease.

G. "Perceptual Pleasure and the Brain" by Irving Biederman and Edward A. Vessel (American Scientist, May-June 2006 issue) discusses why the brain craves information.


A. The top three graduates schools for Neuroscience/Neurobiology as ranked in 2006 by US News and World Report are:

Harvard University
Stanford University
University of California San Diego

B. Between 50 million and 70 million Americans struggle with chronic sleep disorders. (Source:

C. In the summer of 2005, Juré Robic won in the Race Across America (RAAM) when he rode his bicycle 3,052 miles (4,912 kilometers) from San Diego (CA) to Atlantic City (NJ) in nine days, eight hours, and 48 minutes. During his ride, Robic slept for only 12.5 hours. (Source: National Geographic Adventure, December 2005/January 2006 issue.)

D. More than 200,000 people in the US visit a doctor each year complaining of smell-related problems. (Source: National Institutes of Health.)

E. In 2000, doctor visits in the US totaled 823 million; alternative therapies such as massage or acupuncture was recommended for 31 million of the visits. (Source: Centers for Disease Control, 2000.)


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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.