Volume 11, Issue 11 (November, 2007)


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 - Now Open
4. Brain Idioms
5. New Mind Exhibit at the Exploratorium
6. Free Publications from Dana Press
7. Media Alert
8. Treasure Trove of Brain Trivia
9. Support Neuroscience for Kids
10. How to Stop Your Subscription


Neuroscience for Kids had several new additions in October including:

A. October Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived
B. New Neurotoxic Pesticide Approved by the EPA

In October, 12 new figures were added and 71 pages were modified.


The Neuroscience for Kids "Site of the Month" for November is "Split Brain Behavioral Experiment Video" on YouTube at:

This four and a half minute YouTube video is about Joe, a patient who had surgery to control his symptoms of epilepsy. During surgery, doctors cut Joe's corpus callosum, the main connection between the right and left cerebral hemispheres. The video shows Dr. Michael Gazzaniga, a pioneer in the field of "split brain" research, testing Joe's ability to say and draw words and pictures shown to Joe's right or left side. Notice how Joe cannot say what was shown to his left side (information goes to the right side of his brain), but he can draw what he saw with his left hand. How is this possible? How does Dr. Gazzaniga explain this?


The 2007-2008 NEUROSCIENCE FOR KIDS WRITING CONTEST is now open to students in kindergarten through high school. Use your imagination to create a poem, limerick or haiku 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 summary of the contest rules:

All poems, limericks and haiku must have at least THREE lines and CANNOT be longer than TEN lines. Material that is shorter than three lines or longer than ten lines will not be read. All material must have a neuroscience theme such as brain anatomy (a part of the brain), brain function (memory, language, emotions, movement, the senses, etc.), drug abuse or brain health (helmets, brain disorders, etc.). Be creative! Use your brain! Visit the Neuroscience for Kids pages for ideas and information!

If you are a student in kindergarten to Grade 2: write a poem in any style; it doesn't even have to rhyme.

If you are a student in Grade 3 to Grade 5: write a poem that rhymes. The rhymes can occur in any pattern. For example, lines one and two can rhyme, lines three and four can rhyme, and lines five and six can rhyme. Or use your imagination and create your own rhyming pattern.

If you are a student in Grade 6 to Grade 8: write a brainy haiku (3 lines only). A haiku MUST use the following pattern: 5 syllables in the first line; 7 syllables in the second line; 5 syllables in the third line. Here is an example:

Three pounds of jelly
wobbling around in my skull
and it can do math

If you are a student in Grade 9 to Grade 12: write a brainy limerick. A limerick has 5 lines: lines one, two and five rhyme with each other and have the same number of syllables; lines three and four rhyme with each other and have the same number of syllables. Here is an example of a limerick:

The brain is important, that's true,
For all things a person will do,
From reading to writing,
To skiing to biting,
It makes up the person who's you.

Books or other prizes will be awarded to multiple winners in each category.

Other rules:

A. You must use an entry form for your writing and send it in using "regular mail." Entries that are sent by e-mail will NOT be accepted.

B. Only ONE entry per student. If you cannot download the entry form, let me know (e-mail: and I will send a form to you attached to an e-mail.

C. Students may enter by themselves or teachers may make copies of the entry form for their students and return completed entries in a single package. The contest is open to students in all countries.


An idiom is a phrase with a meaning that is completely different from the definitions of the words. For example, if someone says that they are "All ears," it does not mean that they are made only of ears. Rather, it means that they are ready and interested to hear something. When someone says that they are "Pulling your leg," they are really saying that they are not telling the truth. Several idioms the use the word "brain," including:

"Rack your brain" = think hard

"Bird brain" = stupid

"All brawn and no brains" = strong, but not smart

"Brain trust" = a group of people with special knowledge or skills

"Pick someone's brain" = ask someone for information

"...on the brain" = thinking about something

"To brain someone" = to hit or strike another person

"A no-brainer" = an easy decision

Can you think of more brain idioms?


"Mind," a new exhibit at the Exploratorium in San Francisco (CA) opens on November 9, 2007, and runs through December 31, 2008. From an Exploratorium press release:

"In Mind, you are the exhibit. Experience your own thoughts, feelings and actions in provocative and unexpected ways in this major new 5000-square-foot Exploratorium exhibition featuring over 40 brand-new interactive exhibits, four years in the making."

A separate web site for the exhibit will be available on November 9 at:



Dana Press has three, excellent, free online publications:

A. "Dana Guide to Brain Health," edited by F. Bloom, F. Beal, and D. Kupfer. A milestone in health publishing, the first major home medical reference about the brain, the Dana Guide is based on the contributions of more than 100 of America's most distinguished scientists and clinicians. Online at:

B. "The Dana Sourcebook of Brain Science" offers a basic introduction to brain science, its history, our current understanding of the brain, new developments, and future directions. Online at:

C. "It's Mindboggling," a pamphlet with quizzes, facts and other fun stuff for kids. Online in English at:
and in Spanish at:

Dana Press has a SPECIAL OFFER for teachers who receive the Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter. They will send a free, hardcopy of "The Dana Guide to Brain Health" to the first 300 teachers who send a written request on their school letterhead. Make sure that your request contains a complete telephone number, including area code and a full street address -- they cannot ship to PO boxes. Your request should be mailed or FAXED (202-408-5599) to Rosemary Walsh, The Dana Press, 900 15th Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20005. Tell them that you heard about the free offer from Neuroscience for Kids!


A. "Life Sciences Weekend" at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, WA, (November 8-11, 2007) will feature exhibits by many organizations including Neurobiology and Behavior Community Outreach. I will also be at the museum on November 9 with a few "brainy" presentations for museum visitors.

B. The October/November 2007 issue of Scientific American Mind is now on newsstands with articles including:

* "Solving the IQ Puzzle" by James R. Flynn
* "Eric Kandel: From Mind to Brain and Back Again" by David Dobbs
* "Searching for God in the Brain" by David Biello
* "Brain Stains" by Kelly Lambert and Scott O. Lilienfeld
* "Skewed Vision" by Susana Martinez-Conde
* "Brain Food" by Ingrid Kiefer
* "Feeding the Psyche" by Michael Macht
* "Fantasy Therapy" by Nikolas Westerhoff
* "Tracking a Finer Madness" by Peter Brugge
* "The Best Medicine?" by Hal Arkowitz and Scott O. Lilienfeld

C. "Are You Easily Distracted? Try Some Tea" by Matthew Shulman and "A Threat to Teen Brains" (alcohol and teens) by Emma Schwartz appear in US News and World Report (October 8, 2007).

D. "The Case for Chutes and Ladders" by Sharon Begley (Newsweek magazine, October 22, 2007) discusses the controversy behind "brain-based" education.

E. "Playing Defense Against Lou Gehrig's Disease" by Patrick Aebischer and Ann C. Kato (Scientific American, November 2007) discuss potential therapies for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

F. "The Science of Yummy" by Tamara Holt (Popular Science, November, 2007) discusses how we perceive flavor and taste food.

G. Of the 10 people selected by Popular Science (November, 2007) as the most impressive young scientists, FOUR were neuroscientists, including Alfredo Quinones (Johns Hopkins School of Medicine), Laurie Santos (Yale University), Yoky Matsuoka (University of Washington) and Mark Schnitzer (Stanford University).

H. "The Ghosts We Think We See" (Newsweek magazine, November 5, 2007) by Sharon Begley discusses the brain, superstition and the belief in the supernatural.

I. "Remember This," the cover story of National Geographic magazine (November, 2007), discusses the mysteries of memory. The magazine has some excellent online features that go with the article:


A. In October, 2007 the Society for Neuroscience had 38,020 members. (Source: Society for Neuroscience)

B. Opium and its derivative heroin represent more than 40% of Afghanistan's gross domestic product. Also, the opium production of Afghanistan accounts for 93% of the illegal production in the world. (Source: Sanderson, K., Opiates for the masses, Nature, 449:268-269, 2007.)

C. According to new data from the National Center for Health Statistics, the life expectancy in the US is 77.9 years. Cerebrovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, respectively, are the third, seventh and fourteenth leading cause of death.

D. November is Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month and Epilepsy Awareness Month.

E. Anatomist Francois Magendie (1783-1855) did not have any formal early schooling and could not read or write when he was 10 years old. (Source: Bynum, W.F. and Bynum, H. (editors), Dictionary of Medical Biography, Westport (CT): Greenwood Press, 2007.)


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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.