Volume 8, Issue 9 (September, 2004)


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. Brainy Back to School Activities
4. Workshops for Teachers at the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting
5. American Academy of Neurology - Neuroscience Prizes
6. Book Review
7. Media Alert
8. Treasure Trove of Brain Trivia
9. Support Neuroscience for Kids
10. How to Stop Your Subscription


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

A. August Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived
B. November 2004 and December 2004 Neurocalendars
C. Nothing to Cheer About: Head and Neck Injuries in Cheerleading
D. Club Drug Emergency Department Visits Decline
E. United States Facing a Shortage of Scientists and Engineers
F. Deck of 52 Neuroscience Playing Cards

In August, 22 new figures were added and 58 pages were modified.


The Neuroscience for Kids "Site of the Month" for September is the "Association of Neuroscience Departments and Programs (ANDP)" at:

The ANDP represents more than 250 university departments and programs in North America. ANDP members include neuroscience, psychology, pharmacology, biology and other departments and programs that specialize in neuroscience education and research training.

The ANDP web site has information about more than 50 undergraduate programs and 100 graduate programs. Users can visit the web sites for many of these programs through links on the ANDP site. Undergraduate students can find short-term and summer research projects on the web site and a great "Student Guide" under "Information for Students" offers advice to those who want to go to graduate school for an advanced degree in neuroscience. The guide has practical advice about how to get into graduate school and describes the research experience once a student enters a program.


It's "Back to School" time again. Get your brain in gear for another school year by learning about the nervous system. Here are some activities to get your study of the brain off to a fast start:

A. Keep track of neuroscience in the news: you may be surprised at how often the brain is the topic of news stories (newspaper, magazine, TV) and advertisements. Use the following chart to record where and when you find the brain in the news:

B. Compose a brain poem or other creative writing project:

C. Start the day off with a "brainy quote" or a "brainy joke": and

D. Learn the origins of neuroscience words:

E. Try a "Brainy Puzzle" at:

F. Post a Neurocalendar:


The annual Society for Neuroscience (SfN) meeting will take place in San Diego, CA, between October 22 and October 27. Several FREE workshops at the meeting are designed specifically for K-12 teachers interested in neuroscience. These workshops include:

* Workshop to Bring Together K-12 Teachers and Neuroscientists

* Hands-On Neuroscience Activities

* How to Take Neuroscience into the Schools

* Brain Awareness Week Meeting and Poster Session

High school teachers can also bring students to a special neuroscience short course.


The American Academy of Neurology, in partnership with the Child Neurology Society and the American Academy of Neurology Foundation, are now sponsoring the Neuroscience Research and Creativity Prizes for secondary school students (grades 9-12). The Neuroscience Research Prize encourages high school students to explore the world of the brain and nervous system through laboratory research. The Neuroscience Creativity Prize encourages high school students to be creative in their explorations of the brain and nervous system by demonstrating their knowledge of the scientific method. The objectives are to identify and reward high school students whose scientific skill and talent indicate potential for scientific contributions in the field of neuroscience and to recognize the efforts of science teachers who have demonstrated support for students interested in neuroscience.

For the Neuroscience Prize, three winners will each receive a $1,000 cash prize and an all-expense paid trip to present their projects at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (Miami Beach, FL; April 9-16, 2005). One additional winner will receive a $1,000 cash prize and an all-expense paid trip to present his/her project at the Annual Meeting of the Child Neurology Society (Los Angeles, CA; September 28-October 1, 2005). Winners' teachers are also invited to the Annual Meeting, all expenses paid. Certificates are awarded during the Annual Meeting Awards Luncheon.

For the Neuroscience Creativity Prize, five winners will each receive $100 and a $100 gift card for neuroscience books. Five finalists will each receive a $100 gift card for neuroscience books.

For additional information, rules and an application form for these Neuroscience Prizes, please contact Cheryl Alementi at the American Academy of Neurology (email: or phone: 651-695-2737). The deadline for either application is November 1, 2004.


"Singing with Momma Lou" by Linda Jacobs Altman (illustrated by Larry Johnson), New York: Lee & Low Books, Inc., 2002 [ISBN: 1-58430-040-X] and "Remember Me?: Alzheimer's Through the Eyes of a Child" by Sue Glass (illustrated by W. Yunker), Green Bay (WI): Raven Tree Press, 2003 [ISBN: 0-9720192-5-1].

Reading Level: Grades 2-3; "Remember Me?" is written in English and Spanish on each page.

What would you do if one of your grandparents could not remember you? This is a question that children in the books "Singing with Momma Lou" and "Remember Me?" explore. These books show how two children cope when their grandparents show symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.

Tamika, the young girl in "Singing with Momma Lou," notices that her grandmother, Momma Lou, has trouble remembering her. She decides to give memories back to her grandmother by sharing pictures and other items from Momma Lou's past. One week she brings a baby picture of herself to Momma Lou. On other visits, Tamika brings yearbooks, newspaper clippings, pressed corsages and ticket stubs. Together, Tamika and Momma Lou share each memento.

In "Remember Me?," a young girl doesn't understand why her grandfather cannot remember her. She feels responsible for his memory loss because she thinks her grandfather is mad at her. By discussing her feelings with her mother, the girl finds out that her grandfather has Alzheimer's disease. Knowing that her grandfather's memory loss is not her fault, the girl decides to be her grandfather's "new memory" by talking to him about all of the things they did together.

Both books should help children understand the effects of Alzheimer's disease. The stories should also help reduce fears of children who believe that they are responsible for the changes in their grandparent's behavior.


A. "What Dreams Are Made Of" is the cover story of Newsweek magazine (August 9, 2004). There is a response to this story, pointing out some inaccuracies at:

B. "Relief For Twitching Legs" by David Bjerklie (Time magazine, August 9, 2004) describes how a drug used to treat Parkinson's disease might also work for restless legs syndrome.

C. "A Matter of Taste" by Mary Beckman (Smithsonian magazine, August, 2004) describes how scientists explore the sense of taste.

D. "Taking Depression On" by Daniel McGinn and Ron Depasquale (Newsweek magazine, August 23, 2004) discusses the apparent rise in mental illness on college campuses.

E. "A Disease in Disguise" by Geoffrey Cowley and Anne Underwood (Newsweek magazine, August 23, 2004) describes how Lyme disease can appear to be another disorder.

F. "Teens, Drugs, and Sadness" by Nancy Shute (US News & World Report, August 30, 2003) discusses new research concerning treatment of teen depression.

G. "Speed," by neurologist Oliver Sacks (New Yorker magazine, August 23, 2004) discusses the perception of time and movement.


A. The world's smallest vertebrate (animal with a backbone) is the stout infantfish (Schindleria brevipinguis). This fish is found in the coral lagoons in eastern Australia. Infantfish grow to approximately 7-8 mm, live for only two months and do not have any teeth or scales. The only pigment is in their eyes (Source: Science, July 23, 2004).

B. Cataract extractions are the most common surgical procedure performed in the U.S.; each year, approximately 2 million cataract surgeries are performed, improving vision in about 95% of cases (Source: American Optometric Association).

C. Insects can be loud! Cicadas are insects that recently emerged from the ground to fill trees with their noisy songs. Estimated sound levels:

80 decibels: city traffic
105 decibels: Brood X (17-year-cycle) cicadas
120 decibels: firecracker
(Source: Time, June 7, 2004)

D. The word "doctor" comes from the Latin word "doceo" that means "to teach."

E. An estimated 20.5 million people in the US older than 40 years have a cataract in either eye. Women have a significantly higher age-adjusted prevalence of cataract than men. It is estimated that 30.1 million people will have cataracts by 2020 (Source: Archives of Ophthalmology 122:487-494, 2004).


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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.

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