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. The Origin of the Word "Brain"
4. Time for a Tetanus Booster
5. Harry Potter and the Brain
6. New Teaching Slides from the National Institute on Drug Abuse
7. Media Alert
8. Treasure Trove of Brain Trivia
9. Summer E-mail Changes
10. How to Stop Your Subscription
A. June Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived
B. From Nose to Brain?
C. Pit Viper Venom Affects the Brain
D. The Face Does Not Lie
E. Video Games May Improve Visual Skills
F. Insect Repellents and Killer Bees
G. Revised Sleep and Dream Journal Sheets
H. Caffeine and Childrens' Headaches
I. The World Health Organization (WHO) Fights Tobacco
J. Scientists Find Bitter Taste Gene
In June, 35 new figures were added and 50 pages were modified.
Students, teachers and parents can learn about the science of light at Optics for Kids. Designed by the Optical Society of America (OSA), Optics for Kids is divided into six main sections:
A. What is Optics: an overview of the field of optics.
B. Teachers' and Parents' Corner: lesson plans and activities about light and vision for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
C. Educational Articles: archives of articles from the OSA publication "Optics and Photonics News" are available in PDF format. These articles are filled with experiments and demonstrations to learn about light and vision.
D. Optics Careers: biographies of men and women who work in the field of optics.
E. Education Directory: listing of universities that offer degrees in optical science.
F. Resources: links to other optical science web sites.
"See the light" about light with Optics for Kids!
The OED states that the Old English word for brain was braegen, braegn or bragen. One of the first written uses of the word braegn occurred in the year 1000. In the 1500s, many authors used the word brayn or brayne to describe the three pounds of tissue in their heads. The word "brain" was commonly used by writers in the 1800s.
For the roots of other neuroscience words, see:
The occupational health program that monitors my laboratory recently told me that it is time to get my tetanus booster shot. Tetanus is caused by bacteria (Clostridium tetani) found in the soil and in the intestinal tracts of some animals. Most cases of tetanus infection occur when people step on objects, such as rusty nails, that are contaminated by the bacteria. Animal bites can also transmit the bacteria.
Tetanus toxin works in the spinal cord by blocking the activity of inhibitory interneurons. These interneurons are connected to other neurons that make muscles contract. The results of this blockage are the classic signs of tetanus infection: stiff and rigid muscles, especially around the jaws. For this reason, tetanus is often called "lockjaw." If left untreated, a tetanus infection can affect a person's breathing, resulting in death.
I'll be heading to the nurse's office to get my booster shot soon!
Reference: Rossettoa, O., Sevesoa, M., Caccina, P., Schiavob, G. and
Montecuccoa, C., Tetanus and botulinum neurotoxins: turning bad guys into
good by research, Toxicon, 39: 27-41, 2001.
The slides include images of neurons, the brain, the synapse, drugs of abuse and neural pathways involved with addiction. Many slides can be used for a general presentation about the brain and nervous system.
The slide sets are free and can be downloaded at:
B. "Pumphead" by Bruce Stutz in the July 2003 issue of Scientific American discusses how coronary-bypass operations may have long lasting effects on concentration.
C. "Pills, Teens and Suicide" by David Bjerklie in the June 23, 2003, issue of Time magazine discusses the use of antidepressants in young people.
D. "West Nile: On the Move" in the June 23, 2003, issue (page 55) of Newsweek magazine.
E. "Rethinking the 'Lesser Brain'" by James M. Bower and Lawrence M. Parsons in the August 2003 issue of Scientific American discusses new ideas about the role of the cerebellum in memory and attention.
F. "Turn Down the Lights" by Eric Scigliano in the July 2003 issue of Discover magazine discusses how artificial light affects biological rhythms.
G. "Bzzzz ... Slap!" by Jeffrey Kluger in the July 7, 2003 issue of Time magazine describes how mosquitoes use their senses to find a meal.
H. "Pumping the Neurons" by Bernadine Healy in the June 30, 2003 issue of
US News and World report discusses ways to ward off Alzheimer's disease.
B. The word "brain" appears 66 times in the plays of William Shakespeare. (Source: The Scientist, April 21, 2003.)
C. "Rabies" comes from the Latin word "rabere," meaning "to rave" as well as a Sanskrit word for doing violence. (Source: Discover, March 2003.)
D. In a 7-year study, people who ate at least one serving of seafood once
a week had a 30% lower risk of developing dementia than those who ate less
seafood. (Source: Discover, March 2003, page 10.)
E. The Society for Neuroscience had 31,206 members in 2002. (Source:
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.