The recent articles in The Telegraph and Horse & Hound, together with comments by Bob Champion (Daily Mail, 10 Feb 2016), have highlighted the importance of brain donation as part of the ongoing research into concussion.
Because some neurodegenerative diseases can only be diagnosed at post mortem, it is not possible to identify individuals who may have these conditions from the normal battery of tests that we have available. This includes detailed physical examination, MRI brain scans, blood tests and sophisticated neuropsychological screening.
It is therefore imperative that, in addition to being screened, we identify individuals who are willing to consider the option of brain donation when they volunteer for the ICHIRF project. Many of our existing volunteers are already brain donors and the extension of this option to include brain donation has not proved to be a major stumbling block for them.
Individuals who volunteer to be donors are free to rescind permission at any time and all our data is carefully anonymised to protect the identity of our volunteers. In addition, the researchers examining the data have no information regarding the origin of the samples, the identity of the individuals or the background of the volunteers (concussed individual, control subjects, rugby, football, horse racing, equestrian sport etc.). This ensures that the data is reviewed in a truly independent way, without bias or prejudgement, and that the anonymity of each volunteer is guaranteed.
The brain donation process is managed and coordinated by the Queen Square Brain Bank for Neurological Disorders (QSBB); part of University College London and one of the pre-eminent research centres in the world.
NB. Brain donation is merely an option and there is no requirement for volunteers who are willing to be part of the main ICHIRF screening program to be brain donors. However, to be part of the brain donation project, individuals must have completed the ICHIRF screening process first. ICHIRF cannot admit individuals to the brain donation program as a stand-alone option.
If you wish to receive more information regarding brain donation, please request Brain Donation info now. This will allow us to send you more detailed information but places you under no obligation to volunteer for brain donation.