Examining Brains

Dr. Perl discusses the importance of brain donation and the repository he has helped to set up in order to provide more specimens for research.

In order to do this job, you really have to examine a brain specimen. Now obviously that requires somebody to die. Somewhat sensitive and difficult to talk about but it’s part of what I do. And most of the diseases that I had studied up until now, up until I took the job, had been diseases of old people with a sort of finite prognosis before death, things like Alzheimer’s disease and Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS. And that was fairly easy and straightforward in terms of obtaining brain specimens to study. You would go to patients and families affected by the disease and explain to them the importance of research and brain donation. But for this we’re talking about relatively young people who are relatively healthy. And so we basically set up a brain donation program and a brain repository in which families could, upon the death of their loved one, decided to support research on this problem and donate the brain for research. And this is what we’ve done. And we’ve been very successful in doing that.
Posted on BrainLine December 13, 2017.

About the author: Daniel P. Perl, MD

Dr. Perl is a Professor of Pathology at USUHS and Director of the CNRM's Brain Tissue Repository, where he has established a state-of-the-art neuropathology laboratory dedicated to research on the acute and long-term effects of traumatic brain injury among military personnel.

Dr. Daniel P. Pearl