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 - Closed
4. Adventures in Japan
5. Radio Interview
6. BAW Message from the DANA Alliance for Brain Initiatives
7. Media Alert
8. Treasure Trove of Brain Trivia
9. Support Neuroscience for Kids
10. How to Stop Your Subscription
A. January Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived
B. Squirrels Stay Safe with Snake Smell
In January, 2 new figures were added and 27 pages were modified.
How do genes affect a person's risk to become addicted to drugs? What role does the environment play in addiction? What is the pathway for reward in the brain and how can drugs change it? These are some of the questions answered by researchers and educators at the University of Utah who created "The New Science of Addiction" Web site.
Start your exploration of the Web site by learning about the natural reward pathways in the brain (click on "Natural Reward Pathways Exist in the Brain"). There are games, slideshows and animations that explain how neurons work and how the brain is wired to reinforce behavior. Return to the main page and select "Drugs Alter the Brain's Reward Pathway" to see how specific drugs affect the brain. Again, there are interactive activities to help you learn. Additional sections of the Web site discuss how genetics and the environment (e.g., when and how drugs are used) influence addiction. The final section of the Web site discusses the many ethical, legal and social issues of addiction.
The Web site is very easy to use and there are many colorful pictures that
help explain the material. The site was created with a Science Education
Drug Abuse Partnership Award (SEDAPA) from The National Institute on Drug
Abuse at the National Institutes of Health.
My first presentations were at Nihon University and Tokyo Women's Medical University. I toured laboratories at these places and then spoke with researchers. The following day I traveled by the Shinkansen (some people call it the "bullet train") to Hamamatsu. Early in the day, I visited a fourth grade class at Bancho Elementary School in Shizuoka. In the afternoon, I participated in a medical photonics meeting at Hamamatsu University.
I then traveled to Kobe. You might remember that Kobe suffered a huge
earthquake in 1995. While in Kobe, I visited the Canadian Academy, an
international school on the man-made Rokko Island, and spoke with students
in an eighth grade science class. Then it was back to Hamamatsu on the
Shinkansen where I spoke at the Japan Society for Stereotactic and
Functional Neurosurgery annual meeting.
To find the interview enter -- neuroscience -- in the search box. You can
fast forward to the interview that starts 44 minutes into the program.
"Get involved in Brain Awareness Week, March 10-16, 2008, the annual campaign to increase public awareness about the progress and benefits of brain research. Coordinated by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, Brain Awareness Week unites the efforts of universities, hospitals, patient advocacy groups, professional associations, government agencies, service organizations, and K-12 schools around the world in a week-long celebration of the brain. Now entering its thirteenth year, the Brain Awareness Week campaign includes more than 2,000 partners in 69 countries and benefits from the participation of key stakeholders such as the Society for Neuroscience and Pilot International.
During Brain Awareness Week, campaign partners convey the wonders of the
brain and nervous system and the far-reaching influences and outcomes of
neuroscience research to the public through exciting and innovative
events. These include open houses at neuroscience laboratories, museum
exhibits on the brain, lectures on an array of brain-related topics, and
classroom workshops where students get a close-up view of real brain
specimens. To find out how you can participate, visit the official
campaign Web site at www.dana.org/brainweek."
B. "My Nose, My Brain, My Faith" by David Van Biema (TIME magazine, January 21, 2008) discusses using brain imaging to understand religious faith.
C. "The Science of Romance" is the cover story in TIME magazine (January
28, 2008). The articles discuss how our brains, bodies and senses are
involved with romance.
B. The melody for the song "Yesterday" came to Paul McCartney in a dream. (Source: Miles, B., Paul McCartney. Many Years from Now, New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1997.)
C. 737 doctoral degrees in neuroscience were awarded in the US in 2006 (Source: Hoffer, T.B., M. Hess, V. Welch, Jr., and K. Williams. 2007. Doctorate Recipients from United States Universities: Summary Report 2006. Chicago: National Opinion Research Center.)
D. In 2002, the total annual cost (direct and indirect costs) of schizophrenia was $62.7 billion. (Source: Harding, A., A very expensive disease, The Scientist, December, 2007 supplement.)
E. The last words of writer Louisa M. Alcott (died in 1888) were: "Is it
not meningitis?" Meningitis is an infection that leads to inflammation of
the meninges, the coverings of the brain.
Help Neuroscience for Kids
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.