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Carroll A. Campbell, Jr. Neuropathology Laboratory (Brain Bank)

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is brain donation important?

A: Many neurological disorders are unique to humans. Therefore, human tissue is vital in order for scientists to conduct effective research. A lack of tissue for study is one of the major barriers to advancing our knowledge of devastating diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, hearing loss, Parkinson’s disease and stroke.

Q: Why are brains from people without neurodegenerative diseases needed?

A: Scientists need normal brain tissue for research because they must compare normal age-related changes occurring in the brain to the changes occurring in diseased brains. It is also important to study changes in the brain that occur with healthy aging.

Q: How is the tissue used?

A: Once the tissue undergoes a complete examination, the tissue is then safely stored and distributed to qualified researchers conducting studies on aging and neurological disorders.

Q: Will it delay funeral plans?

A: No. Removal of the brain and associated structures is completed shortly after death. Therefore, it should not delay funeral plans.

Q: Can the family still have an open casket?

A: Yes. Removal of the brain and associated structures does not leave any disfigurement to the face or ears. Funeral homes routinely deal with these situations.

Q: I have registered to be an Organ Donor on my driver’s license. Does this include my brain?

A: No, organ donation and brain donation are separate matters. The sticker on your driver’s license does not give us permission to receive a brain.  You must register separately to be a brain donor. You may be both an organ donor and a brain donor.

Q: Can I donate my entire body to the brain bank?

A: No, whole body donation is facilitated by the MUSC Anatomical Gift Program. Furthermore, an individual cannot donate to both programs.

Q: Will the family receive a report of the autopsy?

A: Yes, a report will be sent to the family. Please note, this report takes up to a year to generate and may require a fee. 


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