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 Site of the Month
3. Neuroscience for Kids Writing Contest - Now Open
4. Olympic Sports - New List of Banned Drugs
5. Book Review
6. Media Alert
7. Treasure Trove of Brain Trivia
8. Support Neuroscience for Kids
9 . How to Stop Your Subscription
A. October Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived
B. Magnetic Shoe Inserts do NOT Reduce Foot Pain
C. Neuroscience for Kids Writing Contest
C. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Nets Two the 2003 Nobel Prize
D. Neuroscience "Domino" Sets
E. Egyptian Conjoined Twins Separated
F. Year 2004 Wall Calendar
In October, 15 new figures were added and 67 pages were modified.
The Monell Chemical Senses Center is a research organization set up to study the chemical senses. Located in Philadelphia, PA, the Center has more than 100 scientists and technicians investigating taste, smell and chemical irritation. The web site provides an overview of the six research areas at the Center: a) Sensation & Perception, b) Neuroscience & Molecular Biology, c) Environmental & Occupational Health, d) Nutrition & Appetite, e)Health & Well-Being and f) Chemical Ecology & Communication. Visitors to the web site can also learn about the research activities by reading the online newsletter, "The Monell Connection."
High school students may be interested in the Science Apprenticeship Program offered by the Monell Chemical Senses Center. This program brings students to the Center for an eight-week summer research experience. Details and an application for the program are available at:
Here is a summary of the contest rules:
All poems, limericks and haiku must have at least THREE lines and CANNOT be longer than TEN lines. Material that is shorter than three lines or longer than ten lines will not be read. All material must have a neuroscience theme such as brain anatomy (a part of the brain), brain function (memory, language, emotions, movement, the senses, etc.), drug abuse or brain health (helmets, brain disorders, etc.). Be creative! Use your brain! Visit the Neuroscience for Kids pages for ideas and information!
If you are a student in kindergarten to Grade 2: write a poem in any style; it doesn't even have to rhyme.
If you are a student in Grade 3 to Grade 5: write a poem that rhymes. The rhymes can occur in any pattern. For example, lines one and two can rhyme, lines three and four can rhyme, and lines five and six can rhyme. Or use your imagination and create your own rhyming pattern.
If you are a student in Grade 6 to Grade 8: write a brainy haiku (3 lines only). A haiku MUST use the following pattern: 5 syllables in the first line; 7 syllables in the second line; 5 syllables in the third line. Here is an example:
Three pounds of jelly
wobbling around in my skull
and it can do math
If you are a student in Grade 9 to Grade 12: write a brainy limerick. A limerick has 5 lines: lines one, two and five rhyme with each other and have the same number of syllables; lines three and four rhyme with each other and have the same number of syllables. Here is an example of a limerick:
The brain is important, that's true,
For all things a person will do,
From reading to writing,
To skiing to biting,
It makes up the person who's you.
Books or other prizes will be awarded to at least one winner in each category. There were more than 50 prize winners in last year's Neuroscience for Kids drawing contest.
A. You must use an entry form for your writing and send it in using "regular mail." Entries that are sent by e-mail will NOT be accepted.
B. Only ONE entry per student.
C. Students may enter by themselves or teachers may make copies of the entry form for their students and return completed entries in a single package.
D. Please download the entry form on the following page:
If you cannot download the entry form, let me know (e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will send a form to you attached to an
In September, 2002, WADA published a new list of banned substances. This list will go into effect on January 1, 2004, and will be used during the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.
Banned substances include stimulants (e.g., amphetamines, cocaine),
narcotics (e.g., morphine, oxycodone, methadone), marijuana, anabolic
steroids and peptide hormones. Chemicals that people might use to hide
drugs from detection ("masking agents") are also banned. Caffeine and
pseudoephedrine, two drugs that were on an older version of the list, are
NOT on the new list. Caffeine was taken off of the new list so that
athletes who drink cola or coffee are not penalized. Pseudoephedrine, a
mild stimulant, is a drug found in common cold medicines such as Sudafed.
Professor Susan Greenfield, Director of the Royal Institute, is renowned for her media-friendly approach to science and has glamorized the image of neuroscience research to the point where she has been accused of "dumbing down." To these criticisms she answers that "it is more challenging to make complex, salient points sound simple." In her new book, "Tomorrow's People," she meets this challenge and tackles the issue of how the progression of science and technology could affect human culture, consciousness and even free will by fundamentally altering our minds.
The book is structured to provide discussions of each aspect of human life and provides clear links between them in the manner of a well constructed seminar. Yet despite the sheer volume of facts, Professor Greenfield manages to make the content sufficiently intriguing and concise so that the reader is not bombarded by information. The style is on occasion conversational, but her passion for her subject matter is truly engaging.
From the outset of the book, Greenfield combines vivid imagery of a possible future with descriptions of the pioneering research that may make these images plausible. The science is beautifully simplified and described with the reverence of a researcher passionate about her work and that of others in neuroscience, artificial intelligence and genetics. She discusses the emotive subjects of cloning and terrorism with candor, avoiding any hint of paranoia. Her main fear appears to be of a future where the ever more realistic cyber world may rob us of our human ability to interact. It is here that the book takes on a philosophical tone.
Professor Greenfield succeeds in providing an inspiring and thought-
provoking account of the incredible changes that have already altered our
way of thinking and how further changes, although seemingly far fetched,
could blend just as imperceptibly into our future. The book is an
interesting narrative aimed at nonexpert readers of popular science.
Painstakingly accurate references to several pioneering studies are
blended into a compelling vision of how differing areas of research
combine to form a vision of the future. It is the same riveting read that
has already propelled Greenfield to the best seller list. Her new book is
popular science at its best and a good recreational read.
B. "Why We Sleep" by Jerome M. Siegel and "Brain Not Inflamed?" (about Alzheimer's disease) by Dennis Watkins in Scientific American, November 2003.
C. "Ah...ah...ah...CHOO! Short-circuiting your nerves," by Eric Haseltine, in Discover, November 2003, page 96.
D. "Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies" (cover story in PARADE magazine, October 12, 2003) describes living with multiple sclerosis (page 5) and the effects of stress on health.
E. "The Stubborn Scientist Who Unraveled A Mystery of the Night" by Chip Brown (Smithsonian magazine, October, 2003) describes the work of Eugene Aserinsky and his discovery of rapid eye movement sleep.
F. "Robo-Monkey's Reward" by Michael Lemonick, about a monkey's brain controlling a robotic arm in Time magazine, October 27, 2003, pages 46-47.
G. "Are We Giving Kids Too Many Drugs?" is the cover story of Time magazine, November 3, 2003.
H. "The Alternative Fix," a program about alternative and complementary
medicine, will debut on November 6, 2003 on PBS. For more information
about this show, see:
B. Atropine, a drug that blocks receptors for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, is made from the poisonous Atropa belladonna plant. Carolus Linnaeus named this plant family Atropos after the Fate in Greek mythology who cuts the thread of life. (Source: A.S. Harding. Milestones in Health and Medicine, Phoenix (AZ) Oryx Press, 2000.)
C. Leonardo da Vinci designed contact lenses made of glass filled with water. (Source: A.S. Harding. Milestones in Health and Medicine, Phoenix (AZ) Oryx Press, 2000.)
D. Mr. Jeffries, a Bassett Hound, is the dog with the longest ears. His ears measure 29.2 cm (11.5 in) in length. (Source: Guinness World Records, http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/index.asp?id=58188.)
E. Drunken behavior and violent crimes involving adolescent drinking cost
the US $53 billion per year, including $19 million from traffic accidents.
The US government spends 25 times as much on anti-drug campaigns as it
does on preventing adolescents from drinking. (Source: National Academy of
Sciences, reported in Time, September 22, 2003, page 78.)
8. SUPPORT NEUROSCIENCE FOR KIDS If you would like to make a donation to support Neuroscience for Kids, please visit:
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.