Volume 12, Issue 7 (July, 2008)


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. Smell Branding
4. High School Talk
5. Fall Field Trip Opportunity
6. The National Institutes of Health Wants to Hear from You
7. Media Alert
8. Treasure Trove of Brain Trivia
9. Summer E-mail Changes
10. Support Neuroscience for Kids
11. How to Stop Your Subscription


Neuroscience for Kids had several new additions in June including:

A. June Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived
B. Healthy Brain at 115 Years
C. September, October, November and December 2008 Neurocalendars

In June, 5 new figures were added and 49 pages were modified.


The Neuroscience for Kids "Site of the Month" for July is "Neuroscience Online: A Neuroscience Electronic Textbook" at:

The University of Texas Medical School at Houston has developed "Neuroscience Online" for students who want to get into the details of the nervous system. The resource is divided into three sections: a) Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, b) Sensory Systems, and c) Motor Systems. Each section is divided into smaller chapters with images and animations that help explain concepts. Each chapter ends with a few questions to test your knowledge about a topic.

I recommend this "Neuroscience Online" to high school and college students who are serious about learning more about neuroscience. The Web site has a lot of reading and the material goes into the fine details about how the nervous system works. Neuroscience Online is edited by Dr. John H. Byrne, the chairman of the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston.


Have you ever noticed that a particular store, hotel or product has its own special smell? That smell may have been created especially for that place or thing. In fact, "smell branding" is now its own industry where special smells are created so people associate an odor with a place or item. Some airlines, such as Singapore Airlines, have given their planes a special smell that is detectable throughout the cabin. Even toys, such as Play-doh and Crayola crayons, and some hotels have distinct smells.

The purpose of smell branding is to make people remember and buy a product or service. Scent can create strong, long-lasting memories and emotions that help companies market their products to consumers.

Did you know? The smell of a brand new car is really from a can! The scent is sprayed into cars as the vehicles roll off the assembly line. (Source: Lindstrom, M., Brand Sense, New York: Free Press, 2005.)

For more information about smell branding, see:

Air Aroma

Scent Marketing Institute

Brand Sense Agency


Last month at Roosevelt High School (Seattle, WA), I gave a talk titled "Why Brains Should Know About Brains." I was very surprised, but glad, to see more than 100 students attend my presentation...and this was on a Thursday night at 7:30 pm!

During my talk, we discussed why everyone should know how their brain works. Here are a few reasons we thought people should know about their brain:

A. If teachers and students knew how the brain works, then new methods to teach and learn could be developed.

B. Because there are many diseases of the nervous system, it is important to know about symptoms and treatments of neurological illnesses. We could then take better care of friends and relatives who have these disorders.

C. If students knew more about the brain, then they could make informed lifestyle choices.

D. Students are supposed to learn about the nervous system in school.

E. There are jobs (doctors, researchers, writers) for people interested in the brain.

F. Many ethical issues involve the brain and we will soon have to deal with these (for example, lie detectors, brain imaging, "smart drugs," and genetic screening for disorders).

I also talked about places where people get their information about the brain (TV, movies, books, school, Internet) and about the quality of the information in each of these resources. My talked finished with some common "Brain Myths" and an open discussion of neuroethical issues that the students may have to face in the near future.

For more information about neuroethics, see:


Life Sciences Research Weekend at the Pacific Science Center (Seattle, WA) will hold a special event on Friday, November 7, 2008 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Students will have the opportunity to squish strawberries to extract DNA, handle a heart valve, perform taste tests and much more! Scientists from more than 20 research institutions and companies from around Washington State will lead hands-on activities and explain interactive exhibits. Students will also learn about breakthroughs in research and exciting careers in the life sciences. Contact the Pacific Science Center to reserve space (,

Life Sciences Research Weekend is a three-day public event, Friday-Sunday, Nov. 7-9th, presented by the Pacific Science Center, Northwest Association for Biomedical Research (NWABR), and Washington Biomedical & Biotechnology Association (WBBA).


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) wants to hear from you -- that's right, you! NIH wants to know what neuroscience topics and materials you think might be useful in high schools. Right now, the NIH is asking for responses from teachers, parents and administrators. I think they would also be interested in hearing from students. For a list of questions and the email address to send your responses, see:

This is your chance to have your voice heard by the major health science funding agency in the United States.


A. "America's Medicated Army" by Mark Thompson (TIME magazine, June 16, 2008) discusses the mental health of US troops.

B. "The Psychoacoustics of Harmony Perception" by Norman D. Cook and Takefumi Hayashi (American Scientist, July/August 2008) discusses why certain chords cause particular reactions.

C. "The Neuroscience of Dance" by Steven Brown and Lawrence M. Parsons (Scientific American, July, 2008) discusses how brain-imaging is being used to study our ability to dance.

D. "The Fragile X Factor" by Claudia Wallis (TIME magazine, July 7, 2008) discusses how a genetic disorder may be responsible for autism, dementia and other neurological problems.


Just in time for summer and a trip to the beach! Facts about the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias):

A. The brain of a great white shark weighs less than 1.5 oz (42.5 gram).

B. 18% of the great white shark's brain is devoted to the sense of smell.

C. The great white shark has good vision and can see colors.

D. A reflective layer behind the retina of the great white shark eye allows the fish to see in water with little light.

E. Using special receptors in their snouts called the ampullae of Lorenzini, great white sharks can detect weak electrical currents such as those generated by your heart and muscles.

(All facts from Bensen, A., Sense and sensitivity, Smithsonian, June 2008, p. 41.)


Will you be away from school or work and unable to read your e-mail during the summer? Will you be changing e-mail addresses when school starts in August or September? Do you still want to receive the Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter? If you will not be able to receive e-mail over the summer or if you will be changing your email address, make sure that you let me know (e-mail: where to send the newsletter. If my e-mail to you bounces back to me because it could not be delivered, your e-mail address will be removed from the mailing list. If this happens to you, just send me an e-mail to resubscribe. Have a good summer!


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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.