Volume 17, Issue 4 (April, 2013)

In this issue:

1. What's New at Neuroscience for Kids
2. Neuroscience for Kids Site of the Month
3. Brain Awareness Week
4. Neuroscience Camp at Northwestern College
5. Visit to the Dentist
6. Book Review
7. Media Alert
8. Treasure Trove of Brain Trivia
9. Support Neuroscience for Kids
10. How to Stop Your Subscription


Neuroscience for Kids had several new additions in March including:

A. March Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived

B. 2013 UW Brain Awareness Week Open House

In March, 4 new figure were added and 27 pages were modified.


The Neuroscience for Kids "Site of the Month" for April is "HeadNeckBrainSpine" at:

HeadNeckBrainSpine is a relatively simple web site that helps you learn about neuroanatomy and diseases of the nervous system. The site is divided into two sections: Anatomy and Cases. In "Cases," there are more than 400 examples of patient brain images. The first screen of each case provides a brief description of the symptoms and the images while the second screen provides a discussion and diagnosis.

The Anatomy section of the site allows you to move around (up/down, right/left, front/back) brain images. Click on one of the images and let it load. Then hold down the button of your mouse as you move it over an image to scroll through the image. Click on "quiz mode" to highlight a particular structure and then try to identify it.

HeadNeckBrainSpine is maintained by Brett Young, MD, at Duke University Medical Center.


I hope you participated in some Brain Awareness Week celebrations last month. Here at the University of Washington, the Brain Awareness Week Open House was held on campus in the ballrooms of new Husky Union Building. Approximately 650 students in grades 4 through 12 attended the Open House. The students started with a "Brain Assembly" where I gave them a quick introduction to the brain and discussed the plan for the day. Then the students explored hands-on exhibits set up by the UW Dept. of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine, Neurobiology and Behavior Community Outreach Program, the DO-IT program, UW Department of Otolaryngology, Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, Northwest Association for Biomedical Research, Department of Biology, Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering, Unite for Sight, Youth Take Heart program, Seattle Hydrocephalus Support Group, UW Dept. of Biological Structure, UW Department of Radiology, UW Medicine, Northwest Association for Biomedical Research, Edmonds-Woodway High School, UW Bloedel Center, and the Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience program.

You can read more about the Open House and watch a short video about the event at:


Northwestern College (Orange City, Iowa) will host its 6th season of Northwestern Neuroscience Camps this summer for high school juniors and seniors who are interested in learning more about the brain and nervous system. Participants stay on Northwestern's campus for one week (Monday-Friday) and participate in mini-lectures, demonstrations and hands-on experiments designed to teach them about the brain, nervous system and career opportunities in neuroscience.

Campers take part in simple electrophysiology and neuropharmacology experiments. They dissect a sheep brain, use computer simulation to dissect a human brain, study the nervous system in the college cadaver lab and record the electrical activity of their own brains among many other activities. Northwestern Neuroscience Camp also includes a field trip to the University of South Dakota's Sanford School of Medicine to visit six active neuroscience research labs doing research that spans the field from molecules and genes through cells, neural circuits and animal behavior; participants also take a tour of the Imaging Facility (CT, MRI scanners) at the area hospital to learn about brain imaging.

"Neuroscience at the Movies" and various recreational activities are planned for campers' evenings.

The deadline to apply for the camp is May 1, 2013. For more information about the camp including more details about activities, testimonials, costs, housing, and an application form, see:


Wherever I go, I seem to find neuroscience. Even at my dentist's office. And that's where I went last month for a little work on one of my molars last month. Nothing serious, just the repair of a filling.

My dentist swabbed my gum with a little topical anesthetic and then injected some lidocaine to numb my tooth. The most common nerve that is anesthetized for this procedure is the inferior alveolar nerve, a branch of the fifth cranial nerve. After a few minutes, I could tell that my jaw was anesthetized because I could not feel my gums. Interestingly, I could also feel tingling on my tongue and soon part of my tongue went numb. The tongue is innervated by the lingual nerve which is located near the inferior alveolar nerve. Therefore, the lingual nerve is sometimes affected by this type of lidocaine injection. It was interesting for me to think about the nerves that supply all of the areas of my mouth that were numb.

Lidocaine works by blocking electrical signals in neurons. The drug is effective because it makes sodium channels on neuronal membranes less likely to open. Because sodium ions have trouble moving across the neuronal membrane, a neuron is prevented from depolarizing. Therefore, a neuron cannot generate an action potential. Drilling into a tooth will not cause any pain because no signals will be sent to the brain.

So, to pass the time during your next visit to the dentist, think about all the sodium channels being blocked and give thanks to the effects of lidocaine.


The public library in my neighborhood sees a lot of me. I like to walk to the library on the weekends and browse the magazine and book shelves. Most of the times when I go to library I am not looking for anything in particular. Last month I found myself in the cookbook section of the library where one book, "Crave: The Feast of the 5ive Senses" by Ludovic Lefebvre, caught my eye. (Yes, he uses a "5" in the book title.)

Author Lefebvre is a classically trained French chef. He started his career by doing simple tasks in the kitchens of various restaurants in France, ascended the ranks quickly to become one a premier chefs in the world, and then moved to the United States.

After a brief autobiography, Lefebvre writes in his book about food preparation and spicing, but most of the book is devoted to more than 100 recipes in chapters that fit each of the five senses: see, touch smell, hear, taste. It may be obvious how a cookbook would have recipes that appeal to the senses of taste and smell, but how would a dish appeal to the senses of sight, touch and hearing?

I must admit that the recipes are a bit fancy and many of the ingredients are difficult to find, but here are examples from each sense chapter:

SEE: Fillet of sole with sea urchin, toasted bread crumbs, and red onion compote

TOUCH: Ice-cold broth with shellfish and ginger

SMELL: Sauteed vegetables with curry

HEAR: Crispy soft-shell crabs with butter noisette and aged balsamic vinegar

TASTE: Cod crusted with ginger, almonds, and sesame seeds with baby tomatoes and candied ginger.

Crave is probably the only book I have reviewed for this newsletter that never uses the word "brain" anywhere in the text. But it is the book that makes me the hungriest.


A. "Neural Stem Cell Transplants May One Day Help Parkinson's Patients, Others" by Ferris Jabr (SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, April 1, 2013).

B. "Brain Games" on the National Geographic Channel has new episodes debuting in April. See:


A. When fur seals are on land, both sides of their brains show the same electroencephalogram (EEG) activity during slow-wave sleep (SWS). When fur seals are in the water, their right and left hemispheres "sleep" at different times. (Source: J. L. Lapierre, P. O. Kosenko, T. Kodama, J. H. Peever, L. M. Mukhametov, O. I. Lyamin, J. M. Siegel. Symmetrical Serotonin Release during Asymmetrical Slow-Wave Sleep: Implications for the Neurochemistry of Sleep-Waking States. Journal of Neuroscience, 2013; 33 (6): 2555 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2603-12.2013.)

B. Most birds have two foveae in each eye. (Source: Birkhead, T., Bird Sense. What It's Like to Be a Bird, New York: Walker & Company, 2012.)

C. The nymph of the orb-weaving spider, Anapisona simoni, has a body mass of less than 0.005 milligram. Almost 80 percent of the cephalothorax of these animals is filled with the brain. For some spiders and mites, the relatively large brain flows into the legs. (Source: Eberhard, W.G., and Wcislo, W.T., Plenty of Room at the Bottom?, American Scientist, May/Jun 2012, Vol. 100, Issue 3.)

D. Energy drinks were related to 20,783 visits to emergency departments in 2011; 58% of the visits involved only energy drinks; 42% of the visits involved energy drinks and another drug. (Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (January 10, 2013). The DAWN Report: Update on Emergency Department Visits Involving Energy Drinks: A Continuing Public Health Concern. Rockville, MD.)

E. The horseshoe crab has 10 eyes. (Source: Fredericks, A.D., Horseshoe Crab. Biography of a Survivor. Washington, D.C.: Ruka Press, 2012.)


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Eric H. Chudler, Ph.D.