Feeds

UK scientists hit by lack of brains

Donors required to combat 'dire' research shortage

Intelligent flash storage arrays

UK scientists have appealed for people to donate their brains to researchers facing a "dire" shortage of grey matter, the BBC reports.

According to Dr Payam Rezaie of the Open University's Neuropathology Research Laboratory, scientists urgently need "thousands more brains... to look for the cause and treatments for conditions like autism and Alzheimer's disease".

He explained: "For autism, we only have maybe 15 or 20 brains that have been donated that we can do our research on. That is drastically awful. We would need at least 100 cases to get meaningful data. But that is just one example. A lot of research is being hindered by this restriction."

Professor James Ironside of the donation regulatory body, the Human Tissue Authority, noted that "as well as a shortage of diseased brains to study, there was a bigger problem of getting hold of healthy donor brains for comparison". He added that this was because of "poor awareness rather than people being squeamish".

Dr Kieran Breen of the Parkinson's Disease Society elaborated: "It is a question of awareness rather than anything else. There is also confusion. Some people are under the impression that if they sign up for a donor card that will include donating their brain for research. But it won't. Donor cards are about donating organs for transplant, not for medical science."

Accordingly, Breen suggested would-be donors "should contact one of the 15-20 brain banks dotted around the UK", such as the Brain Bank for Autism.

Other sites collecting brains for research include the Medical Research Council's Brain and Tissue Banks in Edinburgh, which focuses on "HIV infection of the brain and on Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease", and the Parkinson's Disease Society Tissue Bank based at Imperial College London. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.