A high school student from Scranton, Pa., beat out 43 competitors to capture the championship of the U.S. National Brain Bee, part of an international competition in which contestants try to show how much they know about the brain.

Aidan Crank, from Stroudsburg High School, captured the title in a two-day event at the University of Maryland, according to Norbert Myslinski, a U-Md. neuroscientist who founded the competition 14 years ago.

The 44 winners had won regional contests in 26 states which tested their knowledge in areas such as intelligence, memory, sleep, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, addictions and brain research. The national champion will now move on to the international competition set for South Africa in July.

What kind of information do contestants have to know? Here are sample questions from the contest Web site:

1. Approximately how many neurons does the brain contain? 

2. Name the device that measures brain waves.

3. Stargazer mice are experimental models for which type of epilepsy?

4. Prozac relieves symptoms of depression by affecting which neurotransmitter?

5. The Greek word for the branches of a tree give us the name of what part of a neuron?

6. Name the surgical procedure that destroys part of the basal ganglia and helps Parkinson's patients.

7. The biologic clock is located in what part of the brain?

8. Name a brain disorder named after a famous baseball player. 

9. What is the most common type of inherited mental retardation? 

10. Name the peptide that accumulates in the senile plaques of brains of Alzheimer's patients?

11. What chromosome is altered to cause Huntington's disease?

12. What is the leading preventable cause of mental retardation? 

13. The abbreviation PET stands for what brain imagine technique?

14. What kind of molecules are netrins and semaphorins?

15. Name a cognitive disorder associated with chronic alcoholism.


1. 100 billion

2. Electroencephalograph

3. Petit mal epilepsy

4. Serotonin

5. Dendrites

6. Pallidotomy

7. Hypothalamus

8. Lou Gehrig's disease

9. Fragile X Syndrome

10. Beta Amyloid

11. Four

12. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

13. Positron emission topography

14. Guidance molecules

15. Korsakoff's Syndrome


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