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Living Brain Donation Program Launched in US




Neuroscientists from the Institute for the Study of the Brain. Alena in Seattle (USA) is appealing to all who are facing brain surgery with a proposal to participate in their program. Its essence is the collection and preservation of living tissue samples and human brain cells for scientific research. Living samples are much more valuable than dead flesh, but even getting it is not easy, so voluntary donation is strongly encouraged.

Scientists from Seattle have developed a method for obtaining living fragments of the brain, which does not threaten patients. Donors are those who will have brain surgery, for example, removal of tumors or neurosurgical intervention for the treatment of epilepsy. In the course of such operations, small pieces of the brain are cut out anyway, but instead of recycling, they are instantly placed in a medium with nutrients, preserving vital functions.

Today, a team of neuroscientists led by Edd Lane collects fifty samples a year, but much more is needed - in fact, all that can be collected. Posthumous samples are convenient for studying the structure, but not the activity of cells. And with the brain of a living person, many experiments cannot be set because of technical, moral and ethical problems. Live samples from donors are an ideal resource for study, but besides the USA, such programs have not been launched anywhere else in the world.



Intravital donation of the brain solves many bureaucratic problems if the patient clearly expressed a desire to sacrifice a fragment of the flesh that he does not need. This does not threaten his life, does not require financial costs or complex administrative measures. In contrast, obtaining a brain fragment from the deceased is a complex and multi-stage procedure, which requires the involvement of a number of doctors of different profiles. And this is provided that there are no religious, ethnic and cultural obstacles, but they usually are. Under such conditions, intravital conscious donation becomes a real lifesaver for scientists, so the new program attracted a lot of attention.

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