What a difference a brain can make



Dr. Darvesh giving a tour at the Maritime Brain Tissue Bank

Did you know that this week is Brain Awareness Week? We’ve spent the week talking about things you can do to help keep your brain healthybut today we would like to talk about something a little bit different.

Have you ever considered making a donation to Alzheimer’s disease research but never made the plunge? Did you know there’s a way you could do this WITHOUT donating money? Well, there is. You can donate your brain to the Maritime Brain Tissue Bank in Halifax. This is a different process than becoming an organ donor through MSI.

“Why would I do that?” You might ask yourself. Well, let me tell you. Or rather, let Dr. Sultan Darvesh tell you. Dr. Darvesh runs the MBTB, as well as being a professor and researcher at Dalhousie University. You may have seen his name in the news lately because of his recent research breakthrough. And this is what he has to say about why you should donate your brain:

“The Brain Bank is especially important because there are no animal models of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias,” said Dr. Darvesh. “And one of the most important things for researchers is being able to understand these diseases.”

If you choose to donate your brain, you are choosing to support the research in prevention, treatment and cure of all types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s. It was founded with assistance from Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia, Dalhousie University and Capital District Health Authority so that the tissue can be professionally stored and cared for and be sent all over the world for research purposes. Samples from the MBTB have travelled as far as Israel and Denmark, making them an essential worldwide resource!

You should also know that ANY consenting adult can donate their brain. It is equally important that the MBTB has healthy tissues as well as tissue with neurodegenerative diseases, like dementia. Being able to compare and contrast the two can be an important part of research.

If you’re reading this and thinking: “That doesn’t sound like the right option for me, but WOW! What a great cause!” Don’t despair. You can still help make a difference! The MBTB absolutely takes monetary donations, as running and maintaining this worldwide resource comes with a certain expense attached to it. You can also make a donation to ASNS and help make a difference in the lives of Nova Scotians living with dementia.

Still want to know more about MBTB? You can visit their website or if you’re more inclined, you can take a tour of the MBTB. Contact them at 902-494-4130 or fill out this email form to submit a request for a tour. They have had groups as young as third graders and are more than happy to show off what they do there.

Want to know more about the process of donating your brain? It can be found here. If you or your doctor have any issues with completing the process, you can contact the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia at 1-800-611-6345 or the MBTB directly for assistance.