Brain donation urged by Cardiff dementia research centre

Brain donation urged by Cardiff dementia research centre
From BBC - February 25, 2018

Older people in Wales are being urged to think about donating their brains after they die to help scientists researching dementia.

Researchers at Cardiff University are not actively recruiting at the moment but are still keen to hear from people aged over 85 without a diagnosis.

While they also recruit donors with dementia as healthy brains are needed for comparisons.

Donor Ken Baxter, 75, said: "When I am finished, it is not any use to me."

Since 2009, 460 people in Wales have signed up, with 79 successful donations made to the Brains for Dementia Research project so far.

They are recruited through its team at the university, which is working to identify which genes contribute to a person's susceptibility to developing Alzheimer's disease.

It is hoped they will then be able to predict which people are more likely to get it.

But to do this they need to study human brain tissue, as looking at the distribution of protein deposits on the brain is the only way to get a definitive diagnosis of the disease.

While donors who have dementia often find out about brain donation from medical professionals, it can be harder to attract those with healthy brains.

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Mr Baxter is one such donor and decided to donate his brain after seeing how dementia affected a friend.

He saw it as a way to help others but admitted he does not always get a positive reaction to his plans.

He said: "'[People say] are you sure? It's not something I want to do'. And some people are horrified when you tell them - I ca not see a reason why but a lot of people take it the wrong way.

"They think 'I have never thought of that' - but you are helping someone. If we can overcome these diseases, so much the better."

"When I am finished with it [my brain], it is not any use to me," he added.


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