Monday, January 12, 2009

In my last post I discussed organ donation. Now we are ready to move on to brain donation. Before you get all grossed out, let me dispel some common myths regarding brain donation.

1. Researchers only need brains of people with brain disorders - Not true. By comparing the tissue from a healthy brain versus a diseased brain, scientists may be able to determine why one stayed healthy and one did not.

2. You Cannot Have An Open Casket Funeral - Not true. The incision to remove your brain is made in the back of the head and in no way interferes with an open casket funeral.

3. Brain Tissue Donation is the Same as Other Organ Donation - Not true. There is a time limit of 12-24 hours for your brain tissue to be donated. Once you die, your brain starts to decay immediately. That is why it is vital that all your loved ones know of your intention to donate your brain and where all the pertinent information regarding this is.

4. You have the final say on whether you are a brain donor or not - Not true. Your body becomes the property of your next of kin. This can be your spouse, parent(s), children, or siblings. They will have the final say in whether you are a brain donor. Make sure if you decide to do this, that all necessary people know of your intentions.

There are many organizations that take brain donations. This is not for the faint of heart. Talk this over with your family. Make sure that you are positive this is a path you want to take first. This is your decision and if you feel strongly about it, help them to understand what happens and why you have made this choice.

Here are some links for you to peruse at your leisure to help you make the best decision for yourself.

Myths about brain donation

Some brain banks and how to contact them

Harvard brain tissue resource center

Brain Endowment Bank


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