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 Site
2. Neuroscience for Kids Site of the Month
3. Neuroscience for Kids Drawing Contest - NOW OPEN
4. University of Washington Brain Awareness Week Open House
5. Keep It Down
6. Mozart Meets The Incredibles
7. Brainy Gift Ideas
8. Media Alert
9. Treasure Trove of Brain Trivia
10. E-mail Changes
11. Support Neuroscience for Kids
12. How to Stop Your Subscription
A. November Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived
B. Mental Illness: The Cost to Society
C. Sniffing Out Bladder Cancer
D. UW Brain Awareness Week Open House Application Forms
E. Swimming in Circles
F. Smaller Amygdala Size in Cocaine Addicts
G. Public-Health Victory: Vaccine-Related Polio Wiped Out in US
H. Animal Stroop Effect Test
I. 2005 Yearly Calendar
J. 2005 Brain Facts Daily Planner
In November, 27 new figures were added and 98 pages were modified.
A stroke (or brain attack) occurs when the blood supply to the brain is blocked suddenly. According to the Internet Stroke Center:
* Stroke is the third leading cause of death.
* Each year, about 700,000 people in the United States suffer a stroke.
* In 2000, stroke killed 283,000 people in the United States.
These numbers show how dangerous stroke can be and how important it is to understand the warning signs of a stroke. The Internet Stroke Center is filled with information to learn about the types of stroke, how stroke is diagnosed and treated, how to live after a stroke, and new developments in stroke research. The material on the web site is divided into sections for stroke patients and their families and health care providers. There is also a Stroke Trials Directory for people who want to find clinical trials being conducted about stroke.
The Internet Stroke Center is produced by the Stroke Center at
Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Washington University Medical Center and the
Cerebrovascular Diseases Section of the Department of Neurology at
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As she cranked up the volume control to a setting of 7 or 8, I could hear the music from across the room. Because the sound was so clear and loud, it did not seem as if the music was coming from headphones. Satisfied with the power of her new sound system, she unplugged the headphones, reset the volume control to a 3, and listened to one of her new CDs.
It is not a myth that listening to loud music can cause hearing damage. Dr. A.B. Drake-Lee, from the Ear, Nose and Throat Department at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, investigated the effects of loud music by testing the hearing abilities of members of the heavy metal rock group called ManOWar.
ManOWar bills itself as the loudest rock band in the world. The group stands in front of 48 speaker cabinets. The band's chief engineer regularly records sound levels over 135 decibels on the stage and in auditoriums during performances. (For reference, a jackhammer produces sound of approximately 120 decibels and a jet engine produces sound of approximately 130 decibels.)
Dr. Drake-Lee measured the hearing ability of the three band members and the chief roadie before and after a 1.5 hour concert. Before the concert, the lead guitarist was found to have hearing loss for high frequencies in both ears. The other musicians and the roadie had some hearing loss for frequencies around 6,000 Hz only. After a concert, with the exception of the singer who wore an ear plug in his right ear, all other band members and the roadie suffered hearing loss at all tested frequencies: each test sound had to be louder in order for it to be heard. Although this type of hearing loss is often temporary, the pre-concert hearing loss suggests that exposure to loud music may have long-lasting effects.
Drake-Lee, A.B., Beyond music: auditory temporary threshold shift in rock
musicians after a heavy metal concert, J. Royal Soc. Med., 85:617-619,
Don't worry, I won't spoil the movie by giving away the plot. The misinformation comes in the middle of the movie when a babysitter is speaking to the baby's parents. The babysitter mentions that she has brought over Mozart music because listening to this music will make the baby smarter. The babysitter apparently heard about the "Mozart Effect." Unfortunately, there is no evidence that listening to Mozart or any other classical music makes babies or anyone else smarter. For more about music and the brain (including the Mozart Effect), see:
The gift-giving season is approaching and catalogs can provide a painless way to shop while avoiding crowds (and flu and cold season) and traffic. A Google search using "brainy gifts" will get you 43,200 sites! There are obviously many options. Here are some suggestions for "neuro-related" gifts.
The Signals catalog (http://www.signals.com) offers:
A. The book "The Science of Harry Potter," by Roger Highfield, science editor of the London Daily Telegraph. ($14.00)
B. Laughing may be good for your health, so why not buy a loved one (or yourself) the "Plenty of Pretty Good Jokes" CD compiled from public radio. ($39.95)
C. For that hard-to-buy-for person, try the "Pop Up Book of Phobias," an amazing paper-craft book with 3-D pop-ups. ($29.95)
The Museum Tour catalog (http://www.museumtour.com) has many science-themed gifts:
A. The Perfume Maker Kit is perfect for a child interested in creating scents. Vials and pipettes introduce careful measuring skills, while the easy subject matter might perk an interest in the sense of smell. Recommended for ages 6 and up. ($29.95)
B. Students ages 9-14 may find these books about the body helpful in biology class. The books "Hmm" and "Zzz" introduce concepts related to memory and sleep; "Aha" and "Baa!" cover the topics of intelligence and genetics/cloning. These are sold in sets of three - the third book in each set was not related to neuroscience. (Three books for $20.85)
C. Helmets have become much more accepted by kids - and what better way to get a cool helmet than to decorate your own? "Paint Your Own Helmet" features a multi-purpose sports helmet approved by the CPSC for active kids ages 7 and up. Day-glo paints and brushes are included. All one needs is some creativity. ($24.95)
D. The Mind's Eye Optical Illusion Kit ($69.95) is an expensive gift. If you don't want to spend this much, check out the Neuroscience for Kids web site for fun (free) optical illusions; see http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/chvision.html.
As with any gift, it's the thought that counts, although here at Neuroscience for Kids, we like to spark scientific thoughts, too! There are many catalogs and stores to assist you with your holiday shopping. And while "smart" toys are all the rage, old-fashioned ones that don't speak three languages, beep, or flash colored lights are amazing at capturing kids' imaginations. No studies have shown that kids become "smarter" by playing with technologically fancy toys.
Most toys that have endured the test of time are ones that stimulate a
child's natural curiosity. Look for toys that stimulate the senses.
Pinpoint a child's interests and then, have some fun shopping!
B. "Lights Out: Can Contact Sports Lower Your Intelligence?" by Barry Yeoman (Discover magazine, December, 2004).
C. "The Brain's Own Marijuana" by Roger A. Nicoll and Bradley N. Alger (Scientific American, December, 2004).
D. "The Year in Medicine from A to Z" by David Bjerklie, Alice Park & Sora Song (Time magazine, December 6, 2004).
E. "The Quest for Memory Drugs" is the cover story in Newsweek magazine (December 6, 2004).
F. "Conquering Our Phobias" by Marianne Szegedy-Maszak is the cover story
in US News and World Report (December 6, 2004). This article discusses
brain mechanisms of fears and potential treatments for people with
B. The brain of a worker honeybee weighs only 1 milligram. (Source: Zhang, S. and Srinivansan, Explorations of cognitive capacity in honeybees: Higher function emerge from a small brain, in F.R. Prete editor, Complex Worlds From Simpler Nervous Systems, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2004.)
C. Some snails can sleep for three years. (Source: National Geographic Kids, September, 2004.)
D. A crocodile can not stick out its tongue. (Source: National Geographic Kids, September, 2004.)
E. Most walruses appear to be right-"handed." Scientists from Greenland
and Denmark have observed that 89% of the time, walruses use their right
flipper to brush debris off buried clams before eating them. (Source:
National Geographic Kids, June, 2004.)
Help Neuroscience for Kids
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.