Brain Banking at Apex Neuroscience

Krassner et al. 2023
The Human Brain, via the Society for Neuroscience

Brain banking entails the collection, preservation, and storage of post-mortem human brain tissue for scientific research. Brain banks are a vital resource for modern neuroscience research, facilitating access to human brain tissue. However, successful brain banking hinges on using procedures that ensure the tissue’s quality and usability.

Brain banking is a crucial part of our research program at Apex Neuroscience. One of our primary goals is studying the cellular and molecular integrity of the brain specimens we collect. This mission guides the development and application of our preservation protocols, and also helps us contribute to the broader scientific community.

Registering for Body and Brain Donation

At Apex Neuroscience, we believe brain donations are essential to furthering human knowledge about the brain in health and disease. For those considering this significant contribution to science, please be aware that we currently only accept brain donations in conjunction with whole body donations.

Brain and body donations are facilitated through a separate non-profit organization, Oregon Body Gift. This organization is authorized to accept anatomical donations in Oregon. When you register, you indicate your intent to donate your entire body after death, which includes your brain. This consent can be revoked at any time prior to the donation procedure.

Registration can either be for yourself or for your loved one who you are authorized to consent for. You can register your interest in body donation in less than 15 minutes with two different options by filling out the form available on the Oregon Body Gift website. If you would like to make it clear that you are interested in donating your brain to this brain bank, you are welcome (but not required) to write "Interested in donation to Apex Neuroscience brain bank" where the form asks "How did you hear about us?"

At this time, we are only able to accept whole body anatomical donations from people within approximately 50 miles of Salem, Oregon. In the future, we are hoping to expand our ability to accept donations from people living in other areas as well. For more information about the donation process, please visit the FAQ on the Oregon Body Gift website.

We recommend for you to discuss your decision with family members or next-of-kin. Ask them to contact Oregon Body Gift when the time comes to coordinate the donation. We are happy to send you a donor card to facilitate this process.

Following anatomical donation with Oregon Body Gift, the brain tissue and de-identified data will be transferred to the Apex Neuroscience brain bank. Your donation will be used to advance methodologies in brain banking and critically needed neuroscience research.

Please note that Apex Neuroscience does not provide individual diagnostic services. Our focus is on developing improved brain banking capabilities for the future of neuroscience research.

Please also note that this donation is purely for research purposes, with absolutely no plan for restoration to life, even in the uncertain event that this becomes possible in the distant future. Just like any other research brain bank, the donation is for standard medical research purposes, and will involve dissection to access brain regions needed for scientific study.

We recognize this is a big decision. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns. We want to ensure you have all the information you need to feel fully informed and comfortable with this process. Thank you for considering this meaningful contribution to scientific knowledge.

For Researchers

Our primary goal with our brain bank is to support impactful neuroscience research that honors the gifts of our donors. As we bank more brain tissue, de-identified, fixed brain tissue samples will be made available to qualified investigators on a select basis. Requests will be evaluated by our internal review process to ensure responsible use of this resource. Approved studies must agree to policies on confidentiality and scientific integrity. Please note that due to limited tissue availability, we may not be able to honor all requests. Please contact us to discuss utilizing our brain bank resources in your research advancing our knowledge of the brain.

Oversight and Ethical Guidelines

Our brain bank operates under an exemption from Institutional Review Board (IRB) oversight issued by Pearl IRB after submission of our protocols for review. This included evaluation of our consent procedures and confidentiality protections. Donations originate solely from accredited body donation organizations where informed consent has been obtained and verified. We adhere to National Institutes of Health ethics practices in our research using brain bank resources, ensuring donor confidentiality is maintained through de-identification protocols.

Selected Relevant Publications

McFadden, W. C., Walsh, H., Richter, F., Soudant, C., Bryce, C. H., Hof, P. R., Fowkes, M., Crary, J. F., & McKenzie, A. T. (2019). Perfusion fixation in brain banking: A systematic review. Acta Neuropathologica Communications, 7(1), 146.

McKenzie, A. T. (2019). Glutaraldehyde: A review of its fixative effects on nucleic acids, proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates. OSF Preprints.

McKenzie, A. T., Woodoff-Leith, E., Dangoor, D., Cervera, A., Ressler, H. W., Whitney, K., Dams-O’Connor, K., Wu, Z., Hillman, E. M. C., Seifert, A. C., & Crary, J. F. (2022). Ex situ perfusion fixation for brain banking: A technical report. Free Neuropathology, 3, 3–22.