Volume 14, Issue 3 (March, 2010)

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. 2010 Brain Awareness Week
4. Neuroscience for Kids Writing Contest - Results
5. Olympic Protection
6. PBS Teachers Innovation Award
7. Book Review
8. Media Alert
9. Treasure Trove of Brain Trivia
10. Support Neuroscience for Kids
11. How to Stop Your Subscription


Neuroscience for Kids had several new additions in February including:

A. February Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived
B. Most US Teens are Sleep Deprived
C. Paper Linking Vaccines to Autism Retracted

In February, 2 new figures were added and 31 pages were modified.


The Neuroscience for Kids "Site of the Month" for March is "The Neuro Film Festival" at:

The 2010 Neuro Film Festival is a video competition sponsored by the American Academy of Neurology Foundation. Although the deadline to submit videos has passed, you can watch the short films and vote for your favorite ones online. The videos cover a wide range of brain disorders and many tell personal stories of people affected by neurological illnesses."


Brain Awareness Week (BAW) this month! The official week for BAW is March 15-21, but anytime is a good time to celebrate the brain. I hope you will participate at your own school or in your neighborhood. For more information about BAW, please visit the DANA Alliance and Society for Neuroscience web sites at:


Here in Seattle (WA), 600 students will be on campus for the University of Washington BAW Open house. The students will start with an interactive presentation about the brain and then work with hands-on exhibits set up by local neuroscientists. Exhibits include EEG machines, measurements of brain blood flow, crafts, sensory testing, and real brain specimens.

Show your BRAINY spirit:


Judging of the 2010 NEUROSCIENCE FOR KIDS WRITING CONTEST is finished and winners have been mailed their prizes. A total of 646 students from 33 states and 6 countries sent in poems. From the United States, poems arrived from Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. From outside the United States, students sent entries from Canada, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and England. Some of the winning poems are posted at:

To judge the contest, I read all 646 poems and selected 10 finalists in each grade level (Kindergarten-grade 2; grade 3-5; grade 6-8; grade 9-12). Winners, at least three in each grade level, were chosen by 11 judges. Check the Neuroscience for Kids web site in November for the start of a new Neuroscience for Kids Drawing Contest!


Did you watch any of the 2010 Winter Olympics last month? If you did, you know what important piece of equipment that skiers, snowboarders, hockey players, lugers, bobsledders, short track skaters, skeleton racers and ski jumpers were all wearing. That's right -- a helmet. We should all take notice of the example set by these athletes and wear a helmet to protect our brains the next time we ski, skate and snowboard.


PBS is running a contest to find innovative teachers -- perhaps you (or your teacher) are one! To enter the contest, teachers need to send in a video clip or photograph showing how they are innovative educators. The video or photo should show a demonstration or activity of innovation with students. Math, science, music and arts projects are all welcome. Perhaps you have an innovative activity involving neuroscience?

The contest rules are available at:

You need to submit your entry soon because the deadline is March 12, 2010.


So You Want to Be a Scientist? by Philip A. Schwartzkroin, New York: Oxford University Press, 2009, 192 pages.

Reading Level: High school and above.

"So You Want to Be a Scientist?" is the best book I have ever read that provides information to people considering a career in science. The author, Dr. Schwartzkroin, a neuroscientist at the University of California (Davis), provides readers with the inside story of becoming a scientist and he details the challenges and rewards of being a scientist. The book is filled with practical advice about getting the right education, choosing the proper graduate school and laboratory, how to think like a scientist, writing research papers and grant applications and giving talks. The book also discusses ethical issues that new and established scientists are likely to face as they work in different research environments and the role that scientists play in society. Each chapter ends with "Real-Life Problem" boxes that pose a dilemma; Dr. Schwartzkroin then considers several possible solutions to the problem.

If you are thinking about becoming a scientist, then "So You Want to Be A Scientist" is a book you must read.


A. "The Science of Living Longer" is the cover story of the February 22, 2010 issue of Time magazine.

B. "The Brain's Dark Energy Brain" by Marcus E. Raichle is the cover story of the March 2010 issue of Scientific American. This article discusses how activity in specific areas of the brain may help us understand neurological disorders and consciousness.

C. The March/April 2010 issue of Scientific American Mind magazine is on newsstands now. Articles in this magazine include: The Power to Persuade, A Sensory Fix for Problems in School, The Pluses of Getting It Wrong, Busting Big Myths in Popular Psychology, The Brain and the Written Word, New Hope for Battling Brain Cancer, and Are You Mentally Healthy?

D. "East Brain, West Brain" by Sharon Begley (Newsweek magazine, March 1, 2010) discusses how culture shapes the brain and how the meaning of scientific results from Westerners may have to be reconsidered.

E. "Fish Oil Is No Snake Oil" by Amber Angelle (Discover magazine, March, 2010) discusses how fish oil may be good for the heart and brain.

F. The Cunningham Dax Collection is an exhibit of artwork created by people who have experienced mental illness or psychological trauma. The collection is available for viewing Wednesday through Sunday in Parkville, Victoria (Australia).

G. "Landscapes of the Mind" is a museum exhibit featuring art inspired by neuroscience at the Williams College Museum of Art (Williamstown, MA). The exhibit runs until May 2, 2010.


A. The "Decade of the Mind" includes stretches from 2010 to 2020.

B. Hawaii is the only state in the US that produces coffee, a major source of caffeine, a central nervous system stimulant. (Source:

C. Some deep-sea fish have tubular eyes with each eye having two retinas. The retina on the side of the eye focuses distant objects; the other retina at the base of the eye is used to see near objects. (Source: Creatures of the Deep by Erich Hoyt, Buffalo (NY): Firefly Books, 2001.)

D. The seahorse is the only fish that has a neck. (Source: Scales, H., Poseidon's Steed, New York: Gotham Books, 2009.)

E. The vermis is a part of the cerebellum. The word "vermis" comes from Latin meaning "worm."


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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.