Brain Awareness Week

March 12-18 is Brain Awareness Week. The Brain Donor Project, is working to shed light on the critical need for brain donation to advance Parkinson’s disease (PD) research. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there are vastly inadequate brain donations to meet the research demand of several disorders, in particular Parkinson’s.

“Brain donation is a valuable contribution not only to advance understanding of the disease in question, but also to have closure with the actual neuropathological diagnosis,” says Dennis W. Dickson, MD, Robert E. Jacoby Professor of Alzheimer’s Research at the Mayo Clinic and member of APDA Scientific Advisory Board. “The clinical diagnostic accuracy is not 100%, and autopsy with neuropathologic confirmation is currently the only means to have a final answer.”

Timing is everything — in the last 20 years neuroscientists have learned more about the human brain than at any other point in recorded history. Through a coordinated network of brain banks in the United States, the NIH NeuroBioBank arranges for donated brain tissue to be evaluated and made available to researchers while following the highest standards for research and providing brain tissue to the greatest number of scientists possible.
Since one brain can provide tissue for up to hundreds of research studies, an individual brain donation is a highly valuable gift that almost anyone can make.

What are the steps of brain donation?

  1. Decide this is the right option for you.
  2. Register to become a brain donor through the Brain Donor Project.
  3. Match with a brain bank in the NIH NeuroBioBank network. Receive forms and additional information needed to finalize your registration.
  4. Talk about your decision with your family so they can ensure your wishes are carried out. Consider using the NIH NeuroBioBank brochure for reference.
  5. Ensure your wishes are carried out by providing designated family members with the brain bank contact information. Your family will not incur any expense for the donation.
  6. Help hundreds of researchers further their Parkinson’s research.

According to the Brain Donor Project, many donors and their families share a mutual feeling of satisfaction knowing that they are contributing to the health and well-being of future generations. Brain donation makes it possible to advance science and work toward cures for neurological diseases.

To learn more about Brain donation visit Brain Donor Project.