NEUROSCIENCE FOR KIDS NEWSLETTER – Volume 18, Issue 1 (January, 2014)

HAPPY NEW YEAR from Neuroscience for Kids!

Welcome to the Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter.

In this issue:

1.  What’s New at Neuroscience for Kids

2.  Neuroscience for Kids Site of the Month

3.  Neuroscience for Kids Writing Contest

4.  New Bike Helmet Reviews

5.  Sleep Journal Update

6.  Media Alert

7.  Treasure Trove of Brain Trivia

8.  Support Neuroscience for Kids

1. WHAT’S NEW AT NEUROSCIENCE FOR KIDS

Neuroscience for Kids had several new additions in December including:

A.  December Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/news1712.html

B.  Naps Improve Memory in Children

http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/cnap.html

C.  Tumor Paint

http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/tpaint.html

D.  January and February Neurocalendars

http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/pdf/jan14.pdf

http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/pdf/feb14.pdf

In December, 5 new figures were added and 31 pages were modified.

2. NEUROSCIENCE FOR KIDS “SITE OF THE MONTH”

The Neuroscience for Kids “Site of the Month” for January is the “BRAIN Initiative” at:

http://www.nih.gov/science/brain/index.htm

The “Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative” (BRAIN Initiative) was launched officially last April.  With more than $100 million/yr provided by several organizations, researchers will investigate new ways to understand the human brain and seek new treatments for neurological disorders.  The BRAIN Initiative web site describes the need for this effort and tracks the history of its progress through press releases, videos and blogs.  You can also read about six National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding opportunities that will support the effort.

3.  NEUROSCIENCE FOR KIDS WRITING CONTEST

There is just one more month to submit your entry to the NEUROSCIENCE FOR KIDS WRITING CONTEST.  Students in kindergarten through high school, college students, teachers and parents are all welcome to participate. Use your imagination to create a poem, limerick or haiku about the brain and you might win a prize. The complete set of rules and the official entry form for the contest are available at:http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/contest14.html

Entries must be received by February 1, 2014!

4.  NEW BIKE HELMET REVIEWS

Are you looking for a new bike helmet in 2014?  Check out the new bike helmet reviews from The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute:http://www.helmets.org/helmet14.htm

5.  SLEEP JOURNAL UPDATE

Because there is no more space in my journal, I have decided to close the book on the recording of my sleep and dreams.  I have been keeping a record of my sleep and dreams since June 14, 2013.  During this seven month period, except for the month of November when I was traveling, I recorded the time I went to sleep, the time I woke up, and the dreams I could remember.  During this period, I recorded a total of 175 dreams.

Usually I remembered only one dream when I woke up, but on several occasions, I was able to remember three dreams I had during the night.

The average amount of time I slept each night was 7.5 hours.  The longest I ever slept in one night was 10 hours, 15 minutes, and the shortest I ever slept was 5 hours.  Also, I slept longer on Friday nights (8.3 hours) and Saturday nights (7.9 hours) than on any other days of the week.  This is because I was able to sleep in on Saturday and Sunday mornings without an alarm clock to wake me up.

My ability to recall dreams varied greatly.  Sometimes I could remember so many details of a dream that my writing covered an entire page of my journal.  On other days there are some journal entries with only a few words or a vague description of the content of the dream.  But in all of my dreams I was an active participant.  In other words, I was always doing something; I never just watched things happen.  I could also remember the color of certain objects, but color was not a big feature in any of my dreams.

To examine my dreams more closely, I read through my journal and made a table of the people, objects and actions that appeared in the dreams.

The most common theme running through my dreams was my job, for example, being in the lab or doing experiments.  Family members, food, and animals also commonly appeared in my dreams.  My dreams were also not very scary.

Sure, there were times when I was being chased, but I never feared for my life and I never had any nightmares.  Some of my dreams incorporated an object or event from the day before.  For example, if I read a book with a red cover, a book with a red cover appeared in my dream that night; if I spoke to someone during the day, that person would have some role in my dream.  The dream did not follow what happened during the day, but small pieces of the day’s events sometimes appeared.

Keeping a dream journal improved my ability to recall my dreams: there were more details in my dreams and longer dream reports in my more recent journal entries.  Although many of my dreams helped me reflect on my thoughts, I did not assign any deep meaning to them and did not interpret the content of the dreams.  Rather, I enjoyed the challenge of remembering my dreams and reading the fantastic stories my sleeping brain put together.

6. MEDIA ALERT

A.  “One Family’s Search to Explain a Fatal Neurological Disorder” by Nissa Mollema, Harry Orr (AMERICAN SCIENTIST, November-December, 2013)

B.  “Our Unconscious Mind” by John A. Bargh (SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, January, 2014).

C.  The Science Museum in London, England, has a new exhibit titled “Mind

Maps:  Stories from Psychology (closes December 8, 2014):

http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/visitmuseum/Plan_your_visit/exhibitions/mind_maps.aspx

D. The January 2014 issue of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN MIND is on newsstands now with articles about head injuries, language, autism, and ADHD.

E.  There are several neuroscience discoveries in the DISCOVER magazine (January/February, 2014) “100 Top Stories of 2013” including Growing Organs from Stem Cells (#5), Mind Melds Made Real (#13), and Transparent Brain (#27).  SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN magazine also chose “Moon Shot to the Head” as its #10 in its Top 10 Science Stories of 2013.

7. THE TREASURE TROVE OF BRAIN TRIVIA

A.  The first successful human corneal transplant was performed by Eduard Konrad Zirm in 1905.

B.  The ears get longer by an average of 0.22 millimeters per year from physical maturity on.  (Source:  Henshaw, J.M., A Tour of the Senses,Baltimore:  Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012.)

C. The “bel” in “decibel” is named after Alexander Graham Bell.

D. Eyes Ears Nose and Paws is a nonprofit organization in North Carolina that trains dogs to use their senses to help people, for example, by detecting smells that indicate a dangerous health condition.  (Source: http://www.eenp.org/main/)

E.  There are 1,300 nerve endings per square inch of skin in the human hand.  (Source:  Smithsonian magazine, January, 2014).

8. SUPPORT NEUROSCIENCE FOR KIDS

To ensure that Neuroscience for Kids stays available, we need your help.

All contributions to Neuroscience for Kids are tax deductible (subject to IRS regulations). If you would like to donate to Neuroscience for Kids, please visit: http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/help.html