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Neuroscience For Kids

Treasure Trove of Brain Trivia

A collection of trivia about the brain and nervous system from the archives of the Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter. For more trivia about the brain, see brain facts and figures.

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January, 2018

A. The scallop has 200 eyes that focus light on two retinas (Source: Palmer et al., The image-forming mirror in the eye of the scallop, Science. Vol. 358, December 1, 2017, p. 1172. doi:10.1126/science.aam9506.)

B. Approximately 6 million Americans currently have Alzheimer's disease or mild cognitive impairment; this number is expected to increase to 15 million by 2060. (Source: https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/new-forecast-shows-6-million-alzheimers-disease-cognitive-impairment.)

C. Between 1.1 and 1.9 million sports- and recreation-related concussions occur in children 18 years and younger in the United States each year. (Source: Bryan, M.A., Rowhani-Rahbar, A., Comstock, R.D., Rivara, F. and Seattle Sports Concussion Research Collaborative, Sports- and Recreation-Related Concussions in US Youth, Pediatrics, 2016 Jul;138(1). pii: e20154635. doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-4635.)

D. An oligodendrocyte is a type of glial cell that provides support and myelin to axons in the central nervous system. The word "oligodendrocyte" come from Greek meaning "few tree cell."

E. Dr. May-Britt Moser, a neuroscientist who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2014, was born on January 4, 1963.

February, 2018

A. Encephalartos is a genus of tree found in Africa. The name "Encephalartos" comes from the Greek words "en" meaning "within," "kephali" meaning "head," and "artos" meaning "bread."

B. Last month, singer Neil Diamond (age, 77 years old) revealed that he has Parkinson's disease.

C. Last month, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates revealed that his father has Alzheimer's disease.

D. Only 27.3% of the high school students in the United States gets enough sleep each night. (Source: Wheaton AG, Jones SE, Cooper AC, Croft JB. Short Sleep Duration Among Middle School and High School Students -- United States, 2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018;67:85; 90. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6703a1)

E. The tectum is an area of the midbrain responsible for processing auditory and visual information. The word "tectum" comes from the Latin word meaning "roof."

March, 2018

A. The brain of an alligator weighs about 8 grams.

B. The cerebellum of a squirrel weighs about 1.5 grams.

C. The spinal cord of a rat weighs about 0.7 grams.

D. Sea lions can hear sounds with frequencies from 100 Hz to 40,000 Hz.

E. The length of a rabbit spinal cord is 18 cm.

More trivia from other years:

2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 |
2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998

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