Volume 13, Issue 6 (June, 2009)

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. Golfer Ear
4. Your Name Here
5. Northwestern College Neuroscience Camp
6. Book Review
7. Media Alert
8. Treasure Trove of Brain Trivia
9. Summer Email Changes
10. Support Neuroscience for Kids
11. How to Stop Your Subscription


Neuroscience for Kids had several new additions in May including:

A. May Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived
B. Good News on the Lead Front
C. Scorpion Antivenom: Taking the Sting Out

In May, 4 new figures were added and 21 pages were modified.



The Neuroscience for Kids "Site of the Month" for June is "The Human Body Learning Experience" at:

Created by the Discovery Channel as part of the "Human Body: Pushing the Limits" video, "The Human Body Learning Experience" is an interactive web site exploring vision, memory, strength and sensation. Each of these four sections has games and videos to help you learn about the nervous system. Although I don't like the many advertisements on the site, I think you will still enjoy the activities that have been created.



I am not much of a golfer. In fact, my golf clubs have been collecting dust in the garage for the past 20 years! However, a short paper in the British Medical Journal titled "Is Golf Bad for Your Hearing" caught my eye. The paper describes the case of a 55 year old man who suffered hearing loss in one ear. The man was an avid golfer, playing the game three times a week for 18 months with a thin-faced, titanium "King Cobra LD" club. The sound that the King Cobra LD club makes as it hits a golf ball was described by the man as "like a gun going off." Doctors who examined the man concluded that the most likely explanation for the hearing loss was this sound!

The researchers asked a professional golfer to help them measure the sound made by twelve different golf clubs as they hit golf balls. All thin-faced clubs, like the King Cobra LD, produced louder sounds than thick-faced clubs. The loudest noisemaker (sorry, I mean, golf club) was the Ping G10, making a sound of 120 decibels! No word on whether the golf pro used ear protection during the tests. The paper also did not mention if the hearing loss suffered by the 55 year old golfer was permanent.

Did you know? Thin-faced clubs, such as the King Cobra LD, have been banned from competition by the US Golf Association. The structure of these clubs gives players an unfair driving distance advantage.


Buchanan, M.A., Wilkinson, J.M., Fitzgerald, J.E. and Prinsley, P.R., Is golf bad for your hearing? British Medical Journal, 337:1437-1438, 2008.

US Golf Association Rules


In last month's Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter, you read about some structures in the brain with strange sounding names. This got me thinking about how many areas of the nervous system are named after the people who described them for the first time. Here are some examples:

Tract of Goll, fields of Forel, foramen of Magendie, foramen of Luschka, foramen of Monroe, radiations of Zukerkandl, Meynert's fasciculus, basal nucleus of Meynert, Broca's area, Wernicke's area, stripe of Gennari, Rexed laminae, Edinger-Westphal nuclei, circle of Willis, aqueduct of Sylvius, arteries of Adamkiewicz, organ of Corti (in the ear), Betz cells, Purkinje cells, Brodmann's areas, Schwann cells, Heschl's gyrus, bundle of Rasmussen, Probst's commissure, bundle of Turck, tract of Barns, Clarke's column, Darkschewitsch's nucleus, Schwalbe's nucleus, Bekhterew's nucleus, lamina of His, Sylvian fissure, cells of Martinotti.

So the next time you discover something, don't be afraid to name it after yourself.



There is still space available at the 4th annual Northwestern Neuroscience Camp at Northwestern College (Orange City, Iowa). This camp is a one week residential camp for high school students interested in exploring the exciting field of neuroscience through mini-lectures, demonstrations, a variety of hands-on activities and experiments. There are only TWO openings remaining in each of the two camps, June 15-19 and June 22-26, but you need to apply NOW! For more information, check out the camp website at: or contact the camp director, Ralph Davis (email:; phone: 712-707-7006).


"The Human Brain: Inside Your Body's Control Room," by Kathleen Simpson, Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2009 [ISBN: 9781426304200].

Reading level: Grade 5 and up

National Geographic publishes one of my favorite magazines. The stories in National Geographic are always interesting and the photographs are incredible. The magazine occasionally has medical related articles, some about the brain and nervous system. In addition to the magazine, National Geographic publishes books about various topics, so it was just a matter of time before they created one about the brain.

"The Human Brain: Inside Your Body's Control Room" is a new book with sharp, colorful photographs and illustrations that you expect from National Geographic. I even recognize the book's cover photograph as one from the magazine. I recommend this new book to anyone interested in an introduction to the structure and function of the nervous system. It is organized into short chapters and answers questions about brain development, neuroplasticity (brain changes, memory), sleep/dreams, emotions and brain surgery. At only 64 pages, the book cannot cover every topic, but it is a good overview. Author Kathleen Simpson ends her book with a glossary, bibliography and resources for further information -- she even mentions the Neuroscience for Kids Web site!


A. "The Deprived Human Brain" by Charles A. Nelson III, Elizabeth A. Furtado, Nathan A. Fox, Charles H. Zeanah Jr. (American Scientist magazine May-June, 2009) discusses how abandoned children may suffer developmental problems and how such damage can be reversed.

B. "Why Does the Vaccine/Autism Controversy Live On?" by Chris Mooney (Discover magazine, June, 2009).

C. The National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health is working with HBO Documentary Films to present "The Alzheimer's Project." The Alzheimer's Project uses television, the Internet, DVD, and print material to help the public understand Alzheimer's disease research and care. The main feature of the project is a four-part documentary film series that debuted last month on HBO. All of the films can be seen for free at:

D. Winners of the "Best Visual Illusion of the Year Contest" were announced last month; see:

E. "How Autism Ages" (Growing Old with Autism) by Karl Taro Greenfeld (Time magazine, May 25, 2009).

G. "Brains of Beauties" by Paul S. Katz and James N. Newcomb (Natural History magazine, May, 2009) discusses the nervous system of the sea slug.

F. The 2009 Art and Mind Festival will be held at the Winchester Discovery Centre (Winchester, Hampshire, England) on June 24, 26-28 and July 6, 2009. For more information, see:

G. "Brain Cells for Socializing" by Ingfei Chen (Smithsonian magazine, June, 2009) discusses a particular type of nerve cell found only in humans, great apes, elephants, dolphins and whales.

H. "Hooked on a Feeling" by Sharon Begley (Newsweek magazine, June 1, 2009) discusses the brain and placebos.


A. The tusk of a narwhal (a type of whale, the "unicorn of the sea") is filled with dental pulp and has nerve fibers like a regular tooth. The scientific name for the narwhal is Monodon monceros which means "one tooth, one horn." (Source: Tucker, A., In search of the mysterious narwhal, Smithsonian magazine, May, 2009.)

B. A newborn elephant has a brain that is 50% of its adult brain weight; a newborn human has a brain that is 25% of its adult brain weight. (Source: Shoshani, J., Kupsky, W.J. and Marchant, G.H., Elephant brain. Part I: Gross morphology, functions, comparative anatomy, and evolution, Brain Research Bulletin 70:124?157, 2006.)

C. Neuroscientist Dr. Rita Levi-Montalcini, who won the 1986 Nobel Prize for her discovery of nerve growth factor, was the first Nobel laureate to reach 100 years old when she celebrated her birth on April 22, 2009.

D. The eye of the spookfish does not have a lens. Rather, light is focused on the retina by tiny crystals that act as mirrors. This makes the spookfish the only vertebrate (animal with a backbone) with an eye that uses mirrors for vision. (Source: Wagner, H., Douglas, R., Frank, T., Roberts, N. and Partridge, J., A novel vertebrate eye using both refractive and reflective optics, Current Biology, 2008, DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2008.11.061)

E. June is National Aphasia Awareness Month and Vision Research Month.


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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Eric H. Chudler, Ph.D.