Brain Food

* Say these six words:

pizza

my

wants

thanksgiving

brother

for

Now say the same words this way:

My brother wants pizza for Thanksgiving.

Did you notice a difference in how your brain worked when the words were used in a sentence and meant something?

If you could see your brain as you read, you would notice a difference in how it treated words and sentences.

A researcher at the University of Tokyo in Japan says that some parts of the brain help you figure out words, and other parts string together words into sentences you can understand.

Scientists also think that children's brains work differently than adults' when learning a new language. That could explain why kids seem to pick up a new language faster than adults do.

The research was reported in the journal Science.

More Brain Waves

* By the time you were in first grade, your brain was 90 percent of its adult size. But that doesn't mean it was done growing.

What's inside the brain changes a lot in the teen years. The amount of gray matter (tissue that processes information) increases in girls until about age 11, and in boys until about 13.

After that there's an increase in the amount of white matter, which connects the gray and helps brain cells "talk" to each other.

This helps explain why girls' brains tend to mature more quickly than boys'.

The research, reported in Science News for Kids, also suggests that ages 7 to 11 are the best time to learn to play a sport or musical instrument. You still can learn how to do it when you're older -- but it's more difficult. Ask any adult.

. . . And a No-Brainer

* A man being chased by police in southern Italy gave them the slip by running into a church -- only to find it occupied by police officers.

The officers recognized the man and carted him off to jail. But first they let him attend church services with them.