13:05 22 February 2017
Scientists, who aim to develop new treatments for mental and neurological disorders, are appealing for more people to donate their brains for research after they die.
Dr Kerry Ressler, chief scientific officer at McLean Hospital, one of the largest brain banks in the world, said that new treatments for many mental and neurological diseases are within the grasp of the research community but the lack of sample brain tissue is holding back their development.
"We have the tools and the ability to do some great deep-level biology of the human brain now.
"What we are lacking are the tissues from those with the disorders we need to really understand."
Meanwhile, Prof Sabina Berretta, the scientific director of the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Centre, said that the shortage is due to a lack of awareness that various conditions are due to changes in brain wiring.
"If people think that there are no changes in the brain of somebody that suffers from major depression or post-traumatic stress disorder then there is no reason for them to donate their brain for research because (they think that) there is nothing there to find.
"This conception is radically wrong from a biological point of view."
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