Scientists, who lack the samples to carry out their research in the fight against mental illnesses, are calling for gifts of nature to mark the spirits.
After your death, your brain can still serve science. Problem: Too few people still accept to give their supreme organ to researchers, who increasingly need them for their research.
This is why scientists have called for brain donations, especially for people with mental disorders, such as depression, schizophrenia or post-traumatic stress disorder, the BBC reports.
Parkinson Care, Alzheimer’s
More than 3,000 brains are stored at the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Centre at the McLean Hospital in Boston, USA. It is one of the largest “brain banks” in the world.
While most of the samples are from people with mental or neurological disorders, they are missing. Because samples are frequently asked by scientists, who are trying to find new treatments for Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or a lot of psychiatric disorders. The McLean Hospital, like other brain banks around the world, can no longer meet these growing needs.
According to Dr. Kerry Ressler, the head of the scientific department of the McLean Hospital, interviewed by the BBC, medical advances are largely curbed by the lack of brains available. “We have the tools and the skills to make great discoveries on the human brain, but we lack the tissues of those with the diseases we are trying to understand,” he regrets.
The brain of a depressive evolves
The shortage particularly affects the brains of people whose disorders are wrongly identified as psychological, while they are neurological, such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.
“If people think that there is no change in the brain of people who suffer from severe depression, then there is no reason they give their brains to science because they will think that ‘There is nothing to find there,’ said Professor Sabina Berretta, head of the scientific department of the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Centre, also interviewed by the BBC, which is radically false.