Why We Need People to Donate Their Brains

The advances in scanning and imaging the brain have been remarkable and you’ve all seen the incredible images that one can obtain and this is truly a miracle and been very helpful in terms of many aspects of our understanding of brain disease. But unfortunately, these brain imaging devices are limited in the resolution that they have in terms of the size of an object that they can actually distinguish. When you compare that to looking at a brain specimen, particularly under the microscope, we can see things that are a thousand times smaller than the best, let’s say MRI instrument, which makes a huge difference. We can see the nature of the disease on the cellular level, which is really where you need to go if you want to understand it, particularly in a problem where we don’t have a basis for understanding in terms of past knowledge, because nobody had really actually collected brains like this and studied them prior to our work.

Dr. Perl describes the differences between scanned images of a live brain as opposed to the specimen that can be analyzed under a powerful microscope.

Daniel P. Perl

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.

Posted on BrainLine December 13, 2017.