Published on Aug 21, 2013
Disorders of the brain affect millions of children and adults, dramatically altering their lives and those of their families. Research using brain tissue donated following death has allowed researchers to answer important questions about many brain diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's. For example, much of what is known about Alzheimer's disease was determined from studies using human brain tissue. Scientists are now also using brain tissue to investigate the effects of traumatic brain injury, and the genes involved in disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, autism, and multiple sclerosis.
Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D., a spokesperson for the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center, discusses why brain donation truly is the gift of hope.
The NIH NeuroBioBank is an effort by the National Institutes of Health to coordinate the network of brain banks it supports in the United States. The brain tissue is collected, evaluated, stored, and made available to researchers in a way consistent with the highest standards for research. It also ensures protection of the privacy and wishes of donors. The NIH NeuroBioBank website—www.neurobiobank.nih.gov—has answers to questions about brain donation, links to brain banks across the country, and information on how arrangements are made to donate the brain for research.
Pyramidal neurons photo -- Dietmar Plenz, Ph.D., NIMH Section on Critical Brain Dynamics
SUMA brain image -- Ziad Saad, Ph.D., NIMH Scientific and Statistical Computing Core
White matter growth 3-D MRI animation -- Nitin Gogtay, M.D., NIMH Child Psychiatry Branch
DSI human brain animation -- Van Wedeen, M.D., Martinos Center and Dept. of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University
MEG human brain animation -- Richard Coppola, D.Sc., NIMH MEG Core Facility
Stock images -- iStock
Genetics animation -- National Human Genome Research Institute