Volume 6, Issue 12 (December, 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. Brain Awareness Week
5. Society for Neuroscience Meeting
6. Book Review
7. Small Gift Idea
8. Media Alert
9. Treasure Trove of Brain Trivia
10. E-mail
11. How to Stop Your Subscription


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

A. November Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived
B. FDA Tackles Tylenol: Stronger Warning Label Recommended for Common Painkiller Acetaminophen
C. Skateboarding: A Surprisingly Safe Sport
D. 2003 Daily Planner (Calendar)
E. 2003 Calendar
F. January 2003 Neurocalendar
G. Stroller Safety
H. Getting Your Bell Rung: More "Rings" Put Athletes at Risk for Severe Concussions

In November, 10 new figures were added and 56 pages were modified.


The Neuroscience for Kids "Page of the Month" for November is "The PET Brain Atlas" at:

When we talk about a PET, we don't mean a dog, cat or fish at home. Rather, PET is the abbreviation for the imaging technique that creates a "positron emission tomography" scan. The PET Brain Atlas was created by a team of physicians, scientists, illustrators, programmers and students at the Crump Institute for Biological Imaging at the University of California in Los Angeles. The web site is a great introduction to this wonderful technology.

Start your visit by clicking on "Tutorial," then select "Reading a PET Scan." This Shockwave program will show you how to read and interpret PET images. Enter the "Cases" page to see images of various neurological disorders and test yourself ("Quizzes") to see if you can correctly diagnose a patient based on a case history and PET scan. There is also a set of illustrations of normal brain anatomy, blood vessels and ventricles ("Figures").


You have only two more months to enter the NEUROSCIENCE FOR KIDS DRAWING CONTEST. The contest is open to students in kindergarten through high school. The official rules and entry form for the contest are available at:

Contest prizes include books or posters from Capstone Press, Millbrook Press, the Dana Press and the Scienceworks Museum.


Brain Awareness Week (BAW) is approaching quickly. The official week of BAW is March 10-16, 2003, but anytime in March is a great time to celebrate the brain. BAW was established several years ago by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and the Society for Neuroscience. BAW is now an international event with people all over the globe planning activities to spotlight the brain. For more information on BAW, please visit the Dana Alliance and Society for Neuroscience web sites at:

I strongly encourage you to participate in BAW. Your BAW activities do not have to be complicated. Perhaps your class can develop a "Brain Fair" for other students, parents and teachers. There may be neuroscientists who can visit your class with a presentation about the brain. BAW is a time when many neuroscientists are looking for classes to visit. The Society for Neuroscience maintains a list of neuroscientists interested in K-12 education outreach. Check this list to find a neuroscientist near you:


Do you want to bring your students (grades 4-12) to the 2003 Brain Awareness Week Open House at the University of Washington on March 27, 2003? We are now accepting applications. Please complete and return the application form at:

To read about last year's BAW Open House at the University of Washington, please see:

If you cannot download the application form for the open house, contact Dr. Chudler by e-mail:


Last month I attended the annual Society for Neuroscience (SFN) meeting in Orlando, Florida. The annual meeting is one of the largest gatherings of neuroscientists in the world. There are thousands of presentations on many neuroscience topics ranging from genetics to consciousness. The meeting is a great place for neuroscientists to share their research with others and to find out what is going on in laboratories around the world.

The web sites of the journal Nature and the Society for Neuroscience feature some of the research unveiled at the Neuroscience meeting at:

There were also opportunities for K-12 teachers at the meeting. On Saturday, the SFN Committee on Neuroscience Literacy sponsored a workshop on mental health for 40 K-12 teachers. The teachers were provided with information about mental health educational materials for the classroom and they listened to a presentation by Dr. Richard Nakamura, the acting director of the National Institute of Mental Health. The teachers also participated in hands-on workshops with ideas to bring neuroscience into the classroom. On Sunday, the teachers could attend presentations by representatives of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the National Center for Research Resources, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Science Foundation. These organizations discussed ways that teachers and scientists could work together to develop programs for K-12 students.

Approximately 180 high school students also had the opportunity to experience the neuroscience meeting. These students listened to presentations by three well-known neuroscientists, including a past SFN president (Dr. Donald Price) and the current SFN president (Dr. Huda Akil). Following these presentations, neuroscientist guides took the students on a tour of the main exhibit area. I think the students enjoyed seeing what neuroscience is all about.

Next year, the SFN meeting will be in New Orleans, LA, (November 8-12, 2003) and the Committee on Neuroscience Literacy is already hard at work planning the workshops for K-12 teachers and high school students.


"What Makes You Tick? The Brain in Plain English" by Thomas B. Czerner, M.D, John Wiley and Sons, 2001, 228 pages, ISBN: 0471371009.
[Book review by Dr. Daisy Lu, Neuroscience for Kids Consultant.]

Ophthalmologist-author Thomas Czerner explores consciousness and free will by connecting the physiology of the brain to the mind. In a scientific yet highly readable introduction to brain research, Czerner presents recent breakthroughs in neuroscience such as moveable brain parts, the daily arrival of new neurons in the frontal lobes, and brain changes brought about by everyday experiences. These new discoveries hold amazing promise for future research and the cure of neurological disorders. The book is written in a style that blends a historical detective story with a journey to the stars. From "Off to the Wizard: Exploring a Recently Discovered Galaxy" to "The Final Chord", the gifts of science unfold with a theme: understanding content changes the way you think about thinking.

Appropriate for middle school students through high school, the 13 chapters in this book take readers on an astonishing expedition to a galaxy fueled by science, technology and philosophy. The journey tells the story of brain explorers including molecular biologists, computer scientists, evolutionary psychologists, and all other neuro-type scientists. The book draws from various disciplines and discusses methods that may lead to cures and prevention of neurological diseases. Not only does this book provide scientific knowledge, it teaches that knowing how we learn can change the way we teach.


Are you looking for a small gift for the holidays? If you are, then "52 Amazing Science Experiments" by Lynn Gordon and Jessica Hurley may be right for you. Packaged like a deck of cards, "52 Amazing Science Experiments" features easy experiments that kids can do at home. Some of the experiments investigate the senses. The cards are constructed from sturdy paper and are laminated so they are easy to clean. Each card lists the materials needed, instructions to do the experiment, and a short paragraph explaining the science behind the experiment. The experiments are fun, educational, and use materials you probably already have at home. The cards note when parental help is recommended (such as when scissors are needed). With parental supervision, these activities are suitable for kids 2 years to 12 years old, or anyone looking for easy science activities.


A. "Deceptions and Illusions. Five Centuries of Trompe l'Oeil Painting" is an art exhibit on display until March 2, 2003, at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Paintings highlighted in this exhibit try to "depict an object so exactly as to make it appear real." For more information on this exhibit, see:

B. "Do Vaccines Cause Autism" by C. Gorman in the November 18, 2002 issue of Time Magazine.

C. "The Enigma of Huntington's Disease" by E. Cattaneo, D. Rigamonti and C. Zuccato in the December 2002 issue of Scientific American.

D. "Winging it" by K. Wright in the December 2002 issue of Discover magazine discusses how birds know where to go when they migrate.

E. "The Biology of Disgust. Oh, Yuck!" by J. Glausiusz in the December 2002 issue of Discover magazine.

F. The cover story of the December 2, 2002 issue of Newsweek magazine is titled "The Science of Alternative Medicine."

Note: Some articles from magazines are available online for a limited time. At the time the Neuroscience for Kids newsletter was first published, all of the links worked.


This month's brain trivia concern blindness (all statistics from the World Health Organization)

A. An estimated 180 million people world-wide are visually disabled.

B. Of those 180 million visually disabled people, between 40 and 45 million persons are blind.

C. Every five seconds one person in the world goes blind.

D. One child goes blind every minute.

E. It is estimated that more than seven million people become blind every year.

10. E-MAIL

Many people change their e-mail addresses at the end of the year. Some people choose different addresses to get better Internet service. Other people change e-mail addresses to stop the flood of unwanted messages ("spam"). If you will be changing your e-mail address and still want to receive the Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter, please let me know by sending a note to me at:


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.