Volume 18, Issue 7 (July, 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. Book Review
4. Best Illusion of the Year
5. Life: Magnified
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 June including:

A. June Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived

B. Where Have the Bees Gone?

In June, 33 new figures were added and 30 pages were modified.


The Neuroscience for Kids "Site of the Month" for July is "Pick Your Poison" at:

The National Library of Medicine (National Institutes of Health) has developed this great online exhibit illustrating the history of the use of mind-altering drugs in the United States. The exhibit traces the history of tobacco, alcohol, opium, cocaine, and marijuana from their introduction to their current state. Included is a discussion of the drugs' potential medical benefits and their dangers to society. High school teachers can also find a lesson plan based on historical cases featured in the online resource.


"Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed" by Eileen Christelow, New York: Clarion Books, 1989.

Reading level: Kindergarten to grade 2

"Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed" is a favorite book of many children. In the story, one by one, small monkeys fall off a bed and bump their heads. And each time this happens, the mother monkey calls the doctor. The only advice the doctor provides: "No more monkeys jumping on the bed!"

People could not believe that I did not like this book. Kids loved the story. It's all in good fun. What could be wrong?

First, you would think the mother monkey would learn that jumping on the bed poses a health risk to her little monkeys. Perhaps after the second or third injury, she should take some steps to prevent further injuries. But no, she continues to let the monkeys jump on the bed oblivious to the fact that head injuries can be very dangerous.

And what about the doctor? The doctor might want to examine the little monkeys to ensure they did not suffer a concussion. From the look of the bandages on the little monkeys' heads, the injuries look serious.

Most medical experts believe that it is fine to let someone with a concussion sleep as long as the patient does not have other serious symptoms. Nevertheless, it is still a good idea to check on the person during the night. Let's hope that the mother monkey checks on her little ones after she goes to sleep herself.


The 2014 Best Illusion of the Year has announced its winners. The top winners were:

"The Dynamic Ebbinghaus" (1st prize) by Christopher Blair, Gideon Caplovitz, and Ryan Mruczek (University of Nevada Reno, USA, USA)

"Flexible colors" (2nd prize) by Mark Vergeer, Stuart Anstis, and Rob van Lier (University of Leuven, UC San Diego, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands)

"A Turn in the Road" (3rd prize) by Kimberley Orsten and James Pomerantz (Rice University, Houston, USA)

See the top ten finalist illusions at:


If you are passing through Washington Dulles International Airport between now and November 2014, stroll over to the Gateway Gallery for the "Life: Magnified" exhibit. An airport might seem like an unusual place for a scientific art exhibit, but the images of microscopic animals and cells from the brain, eye, skin and liver are sure to amaze and teach you something about how the body works.

If you are not traveling through Dulles Airport, you can still see the images online at:


A. From the July/August 2014 issue of DISCOVER magazine:

"Power of the Placebo" by Erik Vance
"Our Bodies' Velocities, By the Numbers" by Bob Berman
"Depression's Dance With Inflammation by Carina Storrs
"The Mystery of a Heart Patient's Split Personality by Louis F. Janeira
"Can't Sing? It's All in Your Head" by James Dziezynski
"Why We Can't Trust Our Memories" by Kat McGowan

B. Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium (Monterey, CA) to see "Tentacles: The Astounding Lives of Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefishes" to learn about these fascinating creatures of the sea. See:

C. "The End of Disability" by Eliza Strickland (IEEE Spectrum, June 2014) discusses how prosthetics and neural interfaces will do away with biology's failings.

D. The July 2014 issue of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN MIND has been published with articles about creativity, the aha! moment, vertigo, brain blood flow and alexithymia.

E. "Extra Sensory Perception" by Gershon Dublon and Joseph A. Paradiso and "Add Neurons, Subtract Anxiety" by Mazen A. Kheirbek and Ren Hen (SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, July 2014).

F. "Brain Matters," a weekly radio series until July 24, from WBUR in Boston, MA:

G. The Franklin Institute (Philadelphia, PA) opened a new exhibit "Your Brain" last month. See:


A. The neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin has been found in two species of terrestrial flatworm (Bipalium adventitium and Bipalium kewense). (Source: Caggiano V, Sur M, Bizzi E (2014) Rostro-Caudal Inhibition of Hindlimb Movements in the Spinal Cord of Mice. PLoS ONE 9(6): e100865. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0100865)

B. In 1898, the Bayer company introduced heroin and marketed it as "completely nonhabit forming" and "a safe family drug. (Source: Dobson, M., The Story of Medicine. From Bloodletting to Biotechnology, New York: Quercus, 2013.)

C. Rudolph Albert von Kolliker coined the term "axon" in 1896.

D. Sir Peter Mansfield, who shared the 2003 Nobel Prize with Paul C. Lauterbur for discoveries concerning magnetic resonance imaging, had an interest in rocketry and when he was about 18 years old had a job in the Ministry of Supply at the Rocket Propulsion Department in Westcott, Buckinghamshire.

E. Neuroanatomist Santiago Ramon y Cajal once said: "Every man if he so desires becomes sculptor of his own brain." (Source: Recuerdos de mi vida, 1901).


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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.