Volume 6, Issue 10 (October, 2002)


Welcome to the Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter.

Here is what you will find in this issue:

1. What's New on the Neuroscience for Kids Web Pages
2. Neuroscience for Kids Page of the Month
3. Neuroscience for Kids Drawing Contest
4. Gummy Brains
5. Tragic Football Accident
6. Book Review
7. Media Alert
8. Treasure Trove of Brain Trivia
9. How to Stop Your Subscription


Neuroscience for Kids had several new additions in September. Here are some of them:

A. September Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived
B. December NeuroCalendar
C. Brain Plasticity: What Is It?
D. Neuroscience for Kids Drawing Contest
E. Reducing Pain by Shifting Attention
F. Seat Belt Use Reaches New High
G. New JAMA Study: Ginkgo Doesn't Improve Memory
H. The Neurobiology Behind Out-of-Body Experiences

In September, 16 new figures were added and 66 pages were modified.


The Neuroscience for Kids "Page of the Month" for September is "The Relief of Pain and Suffering" at:

This web site was developed as part of a program called "Pain and Suffering in History - Narratives of Science, Medicine and Culture" that took place at the University of California (Los Angeles) in 1998. The program and web site marked the dedication of the John C. Liebeskind History of Pain Collection at the Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library at UCLA. John Liebeskind, who passed away in 1997, was a neuroscientist at UCLA who discovered that electrical stimulation of a specific part of the brain can reduce pain. I worked in Dr. Liesbeskind's laboratory when I was an undergraduate student at UCLA. Dr. Liesbeskind was the one who encouraged me to pursue a career in neuroscience.

"The Relief of Pain and Suffering" web site is a collection of ten essays about the physiological, anatomical and behavioral consequences of pain. Each essay focuses on the history behind scientific discoveries about pain. For example, "The Anesthesia Revolution of the 1800s. Early Experiments with Surgical Anesthesia" discusses the development of nitrous oxide and ether and "Pioneer Neurophysiology: Mapping the Pain Pathways and Reading the Sensations" discusses the experiments of Charles Bell, Francois Magendie, Johannes Muller, Max von Frey and Charles Sherrington.

Each article is illustrated with many photographs and diagrams. All of the web site's illustrations and key words are listed on an index page and are linked to appropriate places in the text. "The Relief of Pain and Suffering" is a great web site for anyone interested in the history of neuroscience.


Get out your pencils, pens and markers! The NEUROSCIENCE FOR KIDS DRAWING CONTEST is now open to students in kindergarten through high school. Use your imagination to draw a picture about the brain and you might win a prize. The complete set of rules and the official entry form for the contest are available at:

Here is a brief set of rules for the contest:

1. Drawings must be done by hand using pencils, pens, markers, and/or crayons.

2. Entries will be divided into four categories based on age. Drawings in each group should be about the following topics:

Kindergarten to Grade 2: "My brain helps me ________________..."

Grade 3 to Grade 5: "Brain Fitness: I keep my brain healthy by _________"

Grade 6 to Grade 8: "My brain is like a _______ because___________..."

Grade 9 to Grade 12: "Brain research is important because __________..."

3. To enter the drawing contest, mail your completed entry form to the address listed on the entry form.

4. Entries must be received by February 1, 2003, and will not be returned. Winners will be announced on March 1, 2003.

5. Drawings will be judged by the staff of Neuroscience for Kids or by other individuals designated by Dr. Eric H. Chudler. Drawings will be judged on the basis of originality, scientific accuracy and overall design.

6. There will be several winners in each age group. Winners will be awarded a book, CD-ROM or other prize related to the brain.

Contact Dr. Chudler with any questions about this contest:

Good luck to everyone!


I finally found them: gummy brains! These fat-free treats are great for Brain Awareness Week, science fairs or Halloween. I have been searching for these sweet, delicious gummy candies for years. Although I found several companies that sell gummy brains by the pound, I have never seen them sold in small, individual packages...until now. The Oriental Trading Company sells gummy brains in small bags: 8 candies/package, 16 packages for $5.95. Visit the Oriental Trading Company web site and search "brain" for more information.


On September 4, 2002, The New York Times and Associated Press reported that a 10-year-old girl collapsed and died three days after practicing with her football team. Taylor Davison was the only girl on her team. Although Taylor collapsed after a non-contact practice, she did participate in a full-contact practice three days earlier. Doctors believe Taylor suffered a blood clot to her brain following a tackle during these full-contact drills. Taylor complained of a headache after the full-contact practice and had a headache the next day.

Although rare, football-related deaths do occur. In 2001, eight young U.S. football players (7 in high school, 1 in a Pop Warner program [ages 7-16 years old]) died as a direct result of injuries suffered on the field. Of these eight players, six died of brain injuries, one died of a fractured neck and one died of a ruptured spleen. Taylor's tragic accident reinforces the need for players, coaches and parents to be aware of the necessary safety equipment and signs of injury to insure the health of everyone participating in sports.

(Reference for football-related deaths: National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research)


"The Graduation of Jake Moon" by Barbara Park, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000 [ISBN:0-689-83912]
This book was reviewed by Kelly S. Chudler (11 years old, Grade 6).

"The Graduation of Jake Moon" is the story of a boy named Jake Moon whose grandfather Skelly is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease (AD). At first, Jake thinks the diagnosis is no big deal because AD is just something that makes old people forget things. He's wrong. Jake's whole life changes. Jake can't invite friends over anymore because he is afraid Skelly will embarrass him or do something strange. It seems as if Jake's relationship with Skelly is turned around so that Jake is the adult and Skelly is the kid. Jake finds out that AD is a big deal.

I think "The Graduation of Jake Moon" is a good book for kids between 10 and 14 years old. While reading the book, you might feel as if you are Jake Moon. There are many descriptions and thoughts through his eyes. However, some kids might find the book a bit slow in some parts. Some kids may think that a book about AD would be so boring. I found that AD is very interesting. If you put yourself into the shoes of a person who needs to take care of a person with AD, you would see how difficult it is and how your life could change.


A. "Controlling Robots with Your Mind" by M.A.L. Nicolelis and J.K. Chapin October 2002, Scientific American.

B. "Up Too Late" by S. Levine and "Sleepy Time" in US News and World Report (September 9, 2002) discuss children and sleep.

C. "West Nile Worries" by N. Boyce in US News and World Report (September 16, 2002) discusses how blood transfusions and organ transplants may spread West Nile virus.

D. "Free Radical" by K. Wright in Discover (October 2002) discusses brain aging.

E. "Against All the Odds" by J. Kluger in Time Magazine (September 23, 2002) reports on the progress of Christopher Reeve.

F. "Teen Depression" is the cover story of the October 7, 2002, issue of Newsweek Magazine.

G. "Preventing Headaches" is the cover story of the October 7, 2002, issue of Time Magazine.


A. The US government this year will spend close to $19 billion treating and preventing drug abuse. (Source: Science, August 2, 2002, page 748.)

B. October 10, 2002, is National Depression Screening Day.

C. An estimated 46.5 million people 18 years or older were current smokers in the United States in 2000. (Source:

D. The country with the most neurologists per person is Lithuania where there are approximately 6,240 people for every neurologist. (Source: Bergen, D.C., Training and distribution of neurologists worldwide. J. Neurological Sciences, 198:3-7, 2002.)

E. Americans spend $11 billion each year for glasses and contact lenses. (Source: Walker, T.C. and Miller, R.K. 2001 Health Care Business Market Research Handbook, Fifth edition, Norcross (GA): Richard K. Miller & Associates, Inc., 2001.)

C. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the US. Three million people in the US suffer from glaucoma. The number one cause of blindness in the US is macular degeneration. (New York Times, 12/25/01 "As Glaucoma Treatment Advances, Vision is Saved.")

D. Percentage of university students who are "dissatisfied" with their sleep:
in 1978 - 24%
in 1988 - 53%
in 2000 - 71%
(Source: Hicks, R.A., Fernandez, C. and Pellegrini, R.J. Striking changes in the sleep satisfication of university students over the last two decades. Percep. Motor Skills, 93:660, 2001.)

E. The "cauda equina" is the name for the collection of spinal nerves at the lower end of the spinal cord. The term "cauda equina" comes from the Latin words meaning "tail of a horse."


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.

"Neuroscience for Kids" is supported by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) from the National Center of Research Resources.