Let’s Pick Your Brain, for Science!

Let’s Pick Your Brain, for Science!

Have you heard about a Brain Bank? I don’t mean a location for the neighborhood zombies to store their dinner. This is a research program dedicated to helping families obtain a definitive diagnosis of whether their loved one truly had Alzheimer’s disease or whether it was something else.  If you know anyone with any form of Dementia it is critical that you learn more.

What is a Brain Bank?

The Florida Brain Bank research program is dedicated to the coordination of brain tissue donations for critical scientific research that is aimed at ultimately curing Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementia. Furthering an ongoing scientific understanding of dementia-related illnesses and contributing to the overall improvement of diagnosing and treating dementia is integral to the mission of the Florida Brain Bank program, one of the few state-run autopsy/medical research initiatives in the nation.

What Does the Brain Bank Provide?

Paired with ADRC’s (Alzheimer’s & Dementia Resource Center) support and one-on-one relationship with the caregiver and donor, the Brain Bank program helps provide hope for the family. 

Currently, a definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can only be confirmed with 100% accuracy through an autopsy.  The intent of the brain bank program is to study brains of persons clinically diagnosed with dementia and provide tissue for research after their deaths. It is also important to note that the post mortem examination of the brain will not determine the cause of death, but solely the diagnosis of the type of dementia.

Working with ADRC and the Brain Bank better prepares the caregiver for the future and can motivate them to understand the role lifestyle choice may have in reducing the potential risks for developing Alzheimer’s disease. Knowing that their loved one has made a significant contribution to the body of research seeking a cure for Alzheimer’s disease helps to provide closure during the difficult time of loss.  The family can find comfort in knowing that the most precious gift given by their loved one has gone on to help countless others.

In short, families of Alzheimer’s victims obtain two significant service benefits from the brain bank:

  1. A diagnostic confirmation of the disease written in clear, understandable terms; and
  2. Involvement in variable research activities both inside and outside of Florida.

How You Can Help

Brain donation is one very important way of confirming the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, and it is crucial in the effort to learn more about diagnosing and treating Alzheimer’s.

If someone close to you has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or memory problems, the Florida Brain Bank can make arrangements to facilitate donation of the brain to confirm the diagnosis and conduct research upon the donor’s death. Individuals who are in the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s, and those with a pre-Alzheimer condition known as mild cognitive impairment are particularly important for this research.

Normal brain tissue, for comparison purposes, is difficult to acquire and also is very important for research. Individuals who are over the age of 65 and have normal memory can donate their brains for research through this program, after getting a comprehensive neurological examination and an MRI scan of the brain.

For those who participate in this study:

  • At the time of the donor’s death, we will arrange for the transportation and removal of the brain, at no cost.
  • We will provide a detailed pathological report, at no cost to the donor’s family.
To learn more about the program and how to register, contact Alexandra Mercier at 407-436-7755

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