Monday, 25 March 2013
Donating Your Brain to Science
People who donate their brains to be used in neuroscientific research after they die are making a great contribution to our understanding of normal aging and of aging-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Normally, such donations are made anonymously, but for the sake of an exhibition designed to draw attention to this humanitarian gesture, 12 brain donors aged 84 to 100 gave the organizers permission to disclose their identities.
The result of this collaboration between doctor Bronwyn Parry and artist Ania Dabrowska is Mind Over Matter, a photographic tribute to these donors, five of whom have since died. The labyrinth-like exhibition site evokes the experience of memory loss that often accompanies old age. But not all of the project participants had symptoms of amnesia. By examining the differences between their brains and other brains that do show signs of dementia, scientists will obtain a better understanding of this phenomenon.