Lisa Conway – Hometown News

Q: My father has dementia and a co-worker told me about the Florida Brain Bank.  What is it?

A: Our complex and intricate brains help us think, love, and breathe. By studying the brains of people who have died with a brain disorder, researchers can learn more about how dementias affect the brain.

The Florida Brain Bank was formed in 1987 through the Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative.  Their purpose is to study the brains of individuals with progressive dementia to provide the family with a definitive diagnosis and to acquire brain tissue for research.

The Florida Brain Bank seeks to collect brains of individuals with dementing illnesses. Their aim is to identify symptoms and patterns, improve diagnostic tools and treatment, understand pathology and the role of genetics –and to provide a definitive diagnosis for the family. The ultimate goal is to find a cure.

Currently the only way to confirm a clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or other related dementia disorders is through an autopsy of the brain. The Brain Bank researchers also review the donor’s medical records for vital information about how the individual’s disease began and progressed. If you or your loved one is diagnosed with dementia and you are interested in donating the brain for research, talk to your physician.

Normal brain tissue is also very important for comparative research.  Individuals over the age of 65 with normal memory can donate their brains for research through the Florida Brain Bank program, after a comprehensive neurological exam and an MRI of the brain.

The National Institutes of Health website notes, “One significant benefit of brain donation often catches families by surprise, and that is a sense of solace. Despite losing a loved one, some are comforted by knowing that this action may have a broad, positive impact on public health and wellness in the years ahead.”

Want to learn more about resources for those with brain disorders?  Call One Senior Place at 321-751-6771.

One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging at OneSeniorPlace.comLisa Conway is a Registered Nurse and a Certified Care Manager for Senior Partner Care Services, Viera.