Frequently Asked Questions

What is brain donation?
Brain tissue donation is a precious gift for several reasons in that it will help researchers to increase knowledge about dementing illnesses, their causes, and possible treatments. First, examining the brain after death is the only definite diagnosis for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Second, brain donation provides valuable information for scientists and researchers that will help solve questions of dementia. Lastly, it helps improve treatment for future patients fighting Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia.

Who may donate?
Any competent person over age 18 years of age may donate.

Who grants permission for the donation of my or my family members brain for research?
The consent is only legally binding when signed after death. The legally authorized representative (usually, the next of kin) may give consent to donate brain tissue following the death of a donor.

Should I inform my next-of-kin of my decision to become a donor?
Yes, getting the support needed to enact your donation occurs only when you make your wishes known. Your next of kin (or legally authorized representative) will call us upon your passing and will be required to give consent to the donation.

What exactly takes place?
After death, the brain tissue is collected as soon as possible without disfigurement to the donor. The family can plan an open casket or other traditional funeral arrangements. We will do our best not to interfere with or delay any arrangements the family may have.

Is there any cost associated with donation?
No, the procedure will be done without any costs to you or your family. The study will pay for all expenses involved with the donation. Please note that funeral expenses remain the responsibility of the family.

What happens if death occurs at night or on the weekend?
Contact the on-call Brain Bank Coordinator at 817-216-2168 and they will make all necessary arrangements.

Is brain donation compatible with my religion?
Most religions accept and support brain donation. If you are concerned about donation and your religious faith, please discuss with your spiritual leader.

Does registering as a donor alter my medical treatment?
No, registering as a brain donor does not change a person’s medical treatment in any way.

Will the family receive a report about the findings?
The donor’s physician will receive a report of the findings.  This report may not be available for up to a year following death.

For more information, please contact:
Kim Brown, RN
Brain Bank Coordinator
Institute for Healthy Aging
817-735-2694
kim.brown@unthsc.edu

 

This page was last modified on August 13, 2018