British scientists want… your brain: Appeal for donors to help battle against dementia
Researchers are calling for more people to donate their brain to science, to help in the battle against dementia.
The call comes from Newcastle University – which has just recruited its 200th brain donor – as the institution tries to drum up even more support.
The university's brain bank is part of a 2m initiative called Brains for Dementia Research, which collects tissue to help scientists defeat dementia.
Roy Mellor (who suffers from dementia) and his wife Susan, from Consett, County Durham, have jointly become the 200th donor at the brain bank
Roy and Susan Mellor, from Consett, County Durham, have jointly become the 200th donor.
Mr Mellor, a retired engineer, has vascular dementia and has signed up as a dementia donor. His wife, a retired social worker, has signed up as a normal brain donor.
Mrs Mellor said: 'I think it is terrifically important that more people sign up. Dementia is one of the most seriously underfunded diseases as far as research is concerned, and it is a massive problem.'
The couple have been married for 48 years and have three children and seven grandchildren.
Mrs Mellor added: 'Roy was diagnosed with vascular dementia in May 2008. We live a very normal, ordinary life and he is aware of his condition.'
Scientists need both brains of those with dementia, and those without, so they can find out what causes the disease (pictured, right, splices of brain)
The couple were also recently involved in setting up a Memory Cafe, a cafe for people with dementia organised by the Alzheimer's Society.
Brains for Dementia Research, jointly funded by the charities Alzheimer's Research UK and Alzheimer's Society, was set up in 2007 to address a nationwide need for brain tissue.
The brain tissue it collects will allow scientists to unravel the biology of dementia and will help in the search for vital new treatments.
Newcastle University's brain bank is part of a 2m initiative called Brains for Dementia Research
Dr Chris Morris, scientific director of the Newcastle Brain Tissue Resource, said: 'It is brilliant news and we would like to say a big thank you to those who have already agreed to donate.
'We understand that brain donation is a very personal decision, which should be supported by friends and family, but we would urge more people in the region to find out about what it is and how they could get involved.
To find out how to donate your brain call 0191 248 1231 or email [email protected]