Volume 18, Issue 10 (October, 2014)

Welcome to the Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter.

In this issue:

1. What's New at Neuroscience for Kids
2. Neuroscience for Kids Site of the Month
3. New Online Neuroscience Treasure Hunt
4. The Toothache Plant
5. Alarming Alarm Clocks
6. Media Alert
7. Treasure Trove of Brain Trivia
8. Support Neuroscience for Kids
9. How to Stop Your Subscription


Neuroscience for Kids had several new additions in September including:

A. September Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived

B. Brain Awareness Video Contest Winners

C. Childrens Sunglasses Recalled

In September, 24 pages were modified and 4 new figures were added.


The Neuroscience for Kids "Site of the Month" for October is the American Museum of Natural History site "Brain: The Inside Story" at:

Although the "Brain: The Inside Story" exhibit is no longer on the floor at the American Museum of Natural History, the exhibit web site is still up and working. Teachers will find printouts and classroom activities for elementary, middle and high school students on the web site. Students should click on "Brain OLogy" for interactive games and demonstrations and videos answering some common questions about the brain.


Try the new Neuroscience for Kids Treasure Hunt at Neuroscience for Kids. Your job is to find the answers to 10 questions related to the brain and nervous system. If you get all of the answers correct, then you become a Golden Neuron Award winner. Join the Treasure Hunt:


Finally, after two years of trying, I have successfully grown a "toothache plant" in my home garden. The toothache plant (scientific name, Acmella oleracea, Spilanthes oleracea, or Spilanthes acmella) is an herb in the Asteraceae family. In many parts of the world, the toothache plant is used to spice up food or in medicine.

I was interested in growing the plant because of its analgesic (pain relieving) effects. The toothache plant has a chemical called spilanthol that acts as a local anesthetic. Just a small bite of the plant's yellow flower bud will cause tingling, numbing and cooling of the lips, tongue and gums. In addition to its local anesthetic properties, the toothache plant may be used to combat malaria, insects, and bacteria.

The toothache plant could be used to temporarily relieve pain before a person can get to a dentist. However, you should never consume any plant unless you know what it is with 100% certainty.


Do you use an alarm clock to wake up in the morning? I do. I set my clock radio to a station that plays music. I tune the radio to a station that plays music that I don't like because it forces me to wake up and turn off the music.

I have found other alarm clocks that target senses other than hearing. For example, the "Peaceful Progress Wakeup Clock" uses the scents of ocean water, pear vanilla, lavender Essence, and clean cotton in addition to light and sounds to awaken sleepers. "Wake N' Bacon" cooks an actual strip of bacon to wake people up at a specific time. The Kraft Foods Group also thought the smell of bacon would do the job of waking people when they combined an iPhone with an alarm device that emitted the scent of bacon.

Another alarm clock delivers a electric shock to the person who tries to turn it off. If a shock won't wake you up, try the dumbbell alarm clock that requires you to lift the device 30 times before it turns off. Another devious alarm clock, the "Carpet Alarm Clock," makes the user stand on top of the clock to turn it off. If standing on a clock is not enough motivation to get you going in the morning, try the "Blowfly" clock that flies around the room and will not turn off until you catch it and return it to its base. A similar idea is built into the "Hanging Alarm Clock" that inches up a wall each time you hit the snooze button. And finally there is the rolling alarm clock that jumps up, falls off of the dresser, rolls away and continues to ring until you find it and turn it off.

I think I will stay with the annoying music to wake me up.


A. Visit Kew Gardens (London, England) for "The Intoxication Season" to learn about intoxicating plants and fungi. For more information, see:

B. Visit the Pacific Science Center (Seattle, WA; September 20, 2014 to February 16, 2015) for "Memory: Past Meets Present" to learn about the science of memory. For more information, see:

C. "The Animal Mind" is a special issue of TIME magazine on newsstands now.

D. "The Power of Sleep" by Alice Park (TIME magazine, September 22, 2014).

E. "Is Football Worth It?" by Sean Gregory (TIME magazine, September 29, 2014) discusses how playing football may put brain health at risk.

F. The Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE) is hosting the Seattle premiere of FIXED: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement on Thursday, October 9, 7 pm, at the Varsity Theatre (4329 University Way NE, Seattle, WA). This award-winning documentary explores the social impact of human augmentation. FIXED rethinks "disability" and "normalcy" by exploring technologies that promise to change our bodies and minds forever. University of Washington Professor and CSNE Neuroethics Thrust Leader Sara Goering will host a brief panel discussion following the screening (which runs 60 minutes). Tickets are available in advance at the box office: $10 for adults, $5 for students with ID.

G. "Saving Face" by Sam Kean (SMITHSONIAN magazine, October, 2014) discusses how the brain adapts after transplant surgery.


This month's trivia come from Research!America polls of US adults (

A. 50% of those surveyed said it was important for elected officials to listen to scientists.

B. 33% of those surveyed said that scientists are "very trustworthy" spokespersons for science. Only 5% of the respondents thought that elected officials were very trustworthy spokespersons for science.

C. 27% of those surveyed strongly agreed that basic research is necessary; 43% of the respondents somewhat agreed about basic research.

D. 46% of those surveyed said that the federal government is not spending enough on medical research.

E. 70% of those surveyed said that the federal government should increase support of programs and policies that would encourage young Americans to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.


To ensure that Neuroscience for Kids stays available, we need your help. All contributions to Neuroscience for Kids are tax deductible (subject to IRS regulations). If you would like to donate to Neuroscience for Kids, please visit:

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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.