Researchers fear shortage of brain tissue

Concerns as inquiry confirms brains removed during postmortems were kept without family consent

Susan Mayor(Susan.mayor@dircon.co.uk)
May 15, 2003

English scientists using human brain tissue in their research are concerned that the public response to a recent inquiry showing that brains were retained from postmortem without proper consent may reduce the numbers of brains donated for research.

David Dexter, scientific director of the UK Parkinson's Disease Society Brain Tissue Centre said, "There is no doubt that this is bad news for tissue banks, even though we use correct informed consent procedures. People will inevitably get a negative view about the use of brains for research from this inquiry."

The Isaacs Report, which summarizes the results of the inquiry and was released this week, revealed that more than 21,000 brains collected between 1970 and 1999 were still being held at centers throughout England. The majority of these brains had been retained from coroners' cases in which a postmortem was carried out to ascertain the cause of death. Most of...

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