Scientists need brain donations to progress in their research, as the Vaincre Alzheimer Foundation reminds us during Brain Week.
- Brain donation is necessary to advance scientific research, particularly on Alzheimer’s disease.
- In France, it is necessary to establish a specific consent to carry out a brain donation.
- The donation is organized by the Neuro-CEB bio-bank, which takes the sample.
Research needs brains… in every sense of the word. On the occasion of Brain Week, organized from March 13 to 19, the Overcoming Alzheimer’s Foundation calls for brain donation. “This is very important because researchers use diseased and non-diseased brains to confirm or refute scientific hypotheses.”explains the Foundation.
Brain donation: a protocol managed by Neuro-CEB
These donations are mainly dedicated to research on neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease. “One of the important avenues of investigation consists in comparing normal and pathological human tissue, by microscopy or genetic analysis techniques, to identify the lesions or mutations that cause the diseases.explain Neuro-CEBthe bio-bank in charge of organizing brain donations in France.
But the research carried out thanks to brain donations also makes it possible to test scientific hypotheses. “The search for treatments, difficult and expensiveradvertises experimental models on which they can be tested, recalls the Fondation Vaincre Alzheimer. But these models, while accurate, cannot fully reflect the reality of human disease.”
Finally, these donations make it possible to search for biological markers, also called biomarkers: they make it possible to detect the disease before the appearance of the first symptoms. “The identification of these biomarkers in the pre-symptomatic phase will therefore make it possible to initiate treatments very early”, specifies the Foundation. This can allow the development of specific treatments, but perhaps also to act against “biological abnormalities at the very origin of these diseases“.
How to donate brain?
In France, brain donation requires specific consent. The sample is taken by the bio-bank Neuro-CEB, only “if it has a written agreement from the patient or his trusted person testifying to his will“, recalls the Vaincre Alzheimer Foundation. If today French law considers that each person is an organ donor, this does not apply to the brain. “SIf you wish to donate your brain for research, you will have to take specific steps with the Neuro-CEB biobank“, explains the Foundation.
Brain donation: a valuable tool for scientific research
When a person has taken these steps, they are informed of the protocol to follow in the event of death. His family or the medical team must notify the Neuro-CEB bio-bank, so that the sample can be organized as quickly as possible for “ensure sample quality“Part of these will be diagnosed and studied, the rest will be used for scientific research projects.”The research carried out thanks to the precious samples made available, can be the subject of publications in specialized journals., says Neuro-CEB. Thus, in 2016, research on human brains made it possible to show that the “cerebral immune system” of people with the disease display dysfunctions and lead to the destruction of synapses, the connections between neurons.
Leave a Reply