Give us your brains for research: scientists

10th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 10, 2006 (AFP) - French neurologists are appealing for donors ready to bequeath their brains for research into such diseases as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and epilepsy.

PARIS, April 10, 2006 (AFP) - French neurologists are appealing for donors ready to bequeath their brains for research into such diseases as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and epilepsy.

About 350 promises have already been made, according to Professor Charles Duyckaerts of the Pitié-Salpêtrière hsopital in Paris.

"Giving your brain for research has not yet become an accepted procedure," he said, pointing to the obstacles to be overcome and adding that it was necessary to obtain "the consent, in full awareness, of the ill", which implied waiting until the disease had reached an advanced stage in some cases.

The France Parkinson has helped set up a "Parkinson Cérébrothèque (brain library)", a collection of cerebral tissue to be used for research which is, say its staff, already operational.

In December 2004 the Federation for brain research (FRC), which has among its members France Alzheimer and bodies for research into epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, launched an appeal for bequests of brains.

Brains have to be removed within 48 hours of death subject to the agreement of the patients and their families and will be used by a biological resources centre (CRB) for the study of the nervous system.

The Parkinson brain library has been operational since 2005 and relies on a network of 15 regional centres, usually university hospitals. Half the samples are sent to Paris, the other half kept at the centres.

Imaging techniques have improved but biochemical tissue tests are still needed for an understanding of the way the diseases develop, and the detection of lesions invisible to a scanner and their frequency.

According to Duyckaerts, researchers also need "normal" brains for the purposes of comparison.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article