Volume 11, Issue 9 (September, 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. Brains Thinking About Brains
4. The Man with Little Brain
5. Book Grant for Teachers
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 August including:

A. August Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived
B. New Drug for Alzheimer's Disease
C. Food Products Recalled Because of Botulism Contamination

In August, 10 new figures were added and 27 pages were modified.


The Neuroscience for Kids "Site of the Month" for September is is the Web site of "Dr. John H. Krantz" at:

Dr. Krantz, a professor in the Department of Psychology at Hanover College (Hanover, IN), has created a large Web site with many tutorials, animations and experiments about sensation, perception and the brain. In addition to his own demonstrations to illustrate concepts about how our brain interprets the outside world, Dr. Krantz has links to other good Internet resources covering all aspects of psychology.

Start your exploration of the site with the "S & P Tutorials" (Sensation and Perception Tutorials) for some fun experiments about the senses. Next visit "Neuro Tutorials" (Basic Neural Processes) for easy-to-understand explanations about the action potential and a tour of the brain using magnetic resonance images. The "Cog Lab Experiments" (Cognition Laboratory Experiments) section has a set of experiments about attention, memory, and mental imagery.


For many of you, September is "Back to School Time." Why not get school started by getting your brain to think about brains? Here are some ideas:

1. Think about how your brain is similar and different to other objects? For example, how is your brain like a bowl of Jell-O, a tape recorder, a balloon, a computer, a book or a ball? For some other examples, see:

2. Consider the wise words that others have to say about the brain with the brainy quotes at:

3. Get going with "An Activity a Day to Learn about the Brain" at:


The medical journal "The Lancet" recently reported the remarkable case of a man with an unusual brain. This 44-year-old man was admitted to a hospital complaining of weakness in his left leg. When doctors viewed his brain using magnetic resonance imaging, they must have been surprised by what they saw: a large pocket of fluid where the brain should have been! The man had a massive enlargement of the ventricles that contain cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and a very thin layer of cerebral cortex. Most of the man's brain had been pushed out of place. Intelligence testing revealed that he had an IQ of 75.

Fluid (cerebrospinal fluid, CSF) normally circulates through the brain and is then absorbed into the blood stream. If too much CSF is produced, if the fluid pathways are blocked or if there is a problem with CSF absorption, then fluid can build-up causing pressure inside the skull. This condition is called hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus can be very dangerous and it is often fatal if it is not treated.

Although the 44-year-old man had a very unusual brain, he was married, had two children and worked as a civil servant. A tube (a shunt) inserted into the man's brain to drain the CSF improved the leg weakness, but there was no change in the appearance of the brain.

Reference: Feuillet, L., Dufour, H. and Pelletier, J., Brain of a white-collar worker, Lancet, 370:262, 2007.

For more information about hydrocephalus and cerebrospinal fluid, see:

National Hydrocephalus Foundation

The Ventricular System and CSF (from Neuroscience for Kids)


Could your school or classroom use $5,000 worth of nonfiction books? If you are a teacher or librarian and your answer is "YES," then a grant from Heinemann-Raintree books might be for you! If you are a student, then tell your teacher!

Heinemann-Raintree plans to award grants "to recognize and reward extraordinary educational programs that promote the use of series nonfiction and enhance nonfiction literacy." Programs can focus on science or social science. Perhaps a grant can focus on the human body, especially the senses and nervous system? Check the Heinemann-Raintree catalog to see what books are available for your program.

You had better hurry with your grant application because they are due on October 1, 2007. For more information and a grant application form, see:


A. A new SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN MIND magazine has been published with articles about the brain including: The New Psychology of Leadership, New Brain Cells Go to Work, When Words Decide, Where Mind and Body Meet, Deadly Dreams, Is Greed Good?, Forgetting Faces, and Why We Quit.

B. DISCOVER magazine (August, 2007) discusses "10 Unsolved Mysteries Of The Brain":

* How is information coded in neural activity?
* How are memories stored and retrieved?
* What does the baseline activity in the brain represent?
* How do brains simulate the future?
* What are emotions?
* What is intelligence?
* How is time represented in the brain?
* Why do brains sleep and dream?
* How do the specialized systems of the brain integrate with one another?
* What is consciousness?

C. "When Worry Hijacks The Brain" by Jeffrey Kluger (TIME magazine, August 13, 2007) discusses obsessive-compulsive disorder.

D. "This is Your Brain on Food" by Kristin Leutwyler Ozelli (Scientific American, September, 2007) discusses how brain imaging is providing information about compulsive eating and drug addiction.

E. "When Sadness Is a Good Thing" by John Cloud (TIME magazine, August 27, 2007) discusses mental illness and its treatment.

F. "New Tactics for Treating Tourette Syndrome" by Catharine Skipp and Arian Campo-Flores (NEWSWEEK magazine, Sept. 3, 2007). This issue also has "Putting Brains on the Couch" by Sharon Begley that discusses psychiatric diagnosis.

G. "Your Amazing Brain" by Douglas E. Richards (NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS, September, 2007).

H. Learn about the nervous system by visiting a museum:

* Drug Enforcement Administration Museum (Arlington, VA)

* "Mind" exhibition at the Exploratorium (San Francisco, CA)

* Fossilized brain case of a Tyrannosaurus rex at the R.S. Dietz Museum of Geology (Tempe, AZ)


A. US President George W. Bush was treated for Lyme disease in August, 2006.

B. Since 1981, the United States has spent $600 billion in its "war" on illicit drugs. (Source: Dermota, K., Snow fall, The Atlantic, July/August, 2007.)

C. Countries with people who report the highest levels of satisfaction with their lives have the lowest incidence of high blood pressure. (Source: The Atlantic, July/August, 2007.)

D. Approximately 135,000 (65 percent) of sports- and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries treated in U.S. emergency departments occur each year in young people ages 5 to 18 (Source: CDC

E. On September 13, 1848, an explosion sent a rod through the brain of Mr. Phineas Gage. Although Mr. Gage survived, the accident changed his personality and provided scientists with important information about the workings of the frontal lobes.


To insure that Neuroscience for Kids stays available, we need your help. If you would like to contribute to the funding of Neuroscience for Kids, please visit:

Help Neuroscience for Kids


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.