Monday, December 04, 2006

Brain Donation?

Did you know that you could donate your brain? Ack! Would anyone really do that? I would. And as my mother's guardian, she will.

Am I abusing my power? No, I'm finding a way to make something good come out of all the horrible things we've endured because of her paranoid schizophrenia. Together we might be able to help others with the information gleaned from our brains. Separately, I need any answer I can get. Why does one person become afflicted and another not? Is it hereditary? Is it caused by physical or emotional trauma?

The Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center is studying schizophrenia and manic depressive illness through brain tissue donations. They need not only the patient (hard to get) but also any "normal" sibling, offspring, or parent relatives.

Truthfully, I'm excited about this. The center sent me a Psychiatric Brain Donation Information brochure. I signed up both myself and my mother using the simple card attached. They will one day send back the results. I've always wanted to know any tidbit that could help me understand better. What happened? Why is she this way?

The body remains intact. You can still have an open casket funeral, but you must act immediately to preserve the donated organ. In fact, this will take me out of donating other organs because the brain donation is not compatible with organ donation. I still think it's worth doing. There just aren't enough opportunities for scientists to have close relatives able to donate.

Maybe this can somehow make a difference. Another family might find a cure or at least a treatment. I hope to give back a sense of relationship to another family that is struggling through mental illness. I hope that my mother and I can do that together one day or at least be a part of a bigger cure.

Would you donate to the Brain Bank?

For more information visit: www.brainbank.mclean.org or call 800.272.4622
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