Brain Donors Needed in Finding Cure for Mental and Psychological Disorders, Scientists Appeal to People
Scientists at McLean Hospital and across the world appeal to people on Friday to donate their brains after they die for research purposes. Brain donors are needed to help find cures for mental and psychological disorders.
The researchers' aim is to develop new treatments for mental and psychological disorders. Scientists claim the lack of awareness that such conditions are due to changes in brain wiring for the shortage of brain donors. Thus, they urge people with disorders such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder to donate their brains after they die.
In recent years, researchers have made links between the shape of the brain and mental and psychological disorders. Studies show that the human brain, though complex, is beautiful and its wiring changes and grows as humans do. More than 3,000 brains are stored at the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center at McLean Hospital outside Boston. It is considered as one of the largest brain banks in the world.
Most of the specimens are from people with mental or psychological disorders and brain donors are requested by scientists to find new treatments for such conditions. The problem, however, is currently Scientists at McLean Hospital and brain banks from across the world lack specimens for the research community. "We have the tools and the ability to do some great deep-level biology of the human brain now. What we are lacking are the tissues from those with the disorders we need to really understand," a scientist said.
Caroline, a brain donor, told BBC News that she decided to donate her brain for medical research because her sister has schizophrenia. "My parents were fine but why did my sister get schizophrenia? We are not sure where it came from," she said. "How are we going to find out if we don't do the research on the brain, which is where the problem is." She hopes for more brain donors to help find a cure.
A scientist at Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center says people need to know that changes in the brain occur when somebody suffers from major depression or post-traumatic disorder. This awareness could call for more brain donors as they will find the need to study the brain.