Cell and Tissue Banking

, 10:309 | Cite as

Factors that influence decisions by families to donate brain tissue for medical research

  • Therese Garrick
  • Nina Sundqvist
  • Timothy Dobbins
  • Liza Azizi
  • Clive Harper


Whilst mainstream transplant literature provides valuable insights into the influences on families to donate organs and tissues for transplant, the relevance of these findings in relation to organ donation for research remain speculative. The present study aims to expand the research donation literature, by exploring factors that influence a family’s decision to donate brain tissue to neuroscience research. The verbal responses of the senior available next-of-kin (NOK), to the question of brain donation for research, are analysed. The donation rate was high (54%) over the 5-year-period. NOK relationship to the deceased, and post mortem interval were the main factors associated with a positive donation. Parents were most likely to donate and this may result from a lifetime of decision-making on behalf of the deceased. Also, the longer the interval between death of the potential donor and the question being asked, the greater the likelihood of donation.


Brain donation Next of kin Families Post-mortem Research 



We would like to thank the donors and their families, the Department of Forensic Medicine, the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the Schizophrenia Research Institute (supported by infrastructure funding from New South Wales Health), the Sydney South West Area Health Service, the University of Sydney and the New South Wales Coroner’s Office.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Therese Garrick
    • 1
  • Nina Sundqvist
    • 2
  • Timothy Dobbins
    • 3
  • Liza Azizi
    • 2
  • Clive Harper
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pathology (D06)University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Schizophrenia Research InstituteDarlinghurstAustralia
  3. 3.School of Public Health (A27)University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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