Brain Autopsy and Donation Information
June 15, 2023: We are deeply appalled and troubled by the recent news coverage concerning the allegations of immoral and disturbing activities by a former employee at Harvard Medical School in its Anatomic Gifts Program. We want to emphasize that the Massachusetts Alzheimer Disease Research Center tissue bank has no relationship with those operations, that we treat all tissue donations with respect for the individuals and families who allowed them to happen, and that we follow all of the requirements to ensure that tissue is used for appropriate research to understand Alzheimer’s disease and other devastative brain disorders, while preserving the privacy of the individual donors.
The Massachusetts ADRC has an active brain donation program at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) for subjects enrolled in our research studies and patients of the MGH. You may make inquiries with Judy Johanson (617) 726-5571.
Brain donation is one of the most valuable gifts that a patient and his or her family can give. It provides families with a definitive neuropathology diagnosis of a loved one, and allows researchers to perform anatomical and biochemical analyses that will enhance our ability to diagnose and treat Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. Working together with our pathologists, a family can learn more about the connections between the physical state of the brain and the clinical and behavioral symptoms of a patient’s illness.
Our brain donation program welcomes inquiries from healthy donors as well as those with neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease; Parkinson’s disease; frontotemporal dementias (including Pick’s disease & Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA)); dementia with Lewy bodies; other Parkinsonian diseases (including Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) and Corticobasal Degeneration (CBD)); vascular dementias (including Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy (CAA)); dementia pugilistica (“Boxer’s Syndrome”) and other rarer forms of neurodegenerative disorders.
All samples are distributed in a completely de-identified manner, keeping the identities of donors to our program confidential. The decision to participate is usually made jointly by the patient and family. In general, we are only able to accommodate brain donations from subjects who have participated in our research and/or clinical programs.
For more information regarding our brain donation program, please contact our Neuropathology Core Director, Matthew P. Frosch, MD, PhD.
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To view the brain donation flyer in Spanish click here.
To learn more about brain donation watch: Understanding Brain Donation: An Irreplaceable Gift for Dementia Research