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March 3, 2024 3 mins

Researchers, like zombies, are interested in brains of all kinds. Learn a few basics about how donating your brain to science works in this classic episode of BrainStuff, based on this article: https://health.howstuffworks.com/human-body/systems/nervous-system/5-things-didnt-know-about-donating-brain-to-science.htm

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Speaker 1 (00:01):
Welcome to brain Stuff, a production of iHeartRadio. Hey brain Stuff,
Lauren Vogelbomb here with a classic episode from our archives.
But this one has to do with the incredible scientific
potential of your earthly remains, and specifically your brain. Here's
a basic guide to donating your brain to science. Hey

(00:26):
brain Stuff, I'm Lauren Vogelbaum, and you don't have to
be sitting on a mountain of cash when you die.
To leave a little something for your loved ones and
the rest of humanity, Researchers are looking for a few
or lots of good men and women to donate their
brains to science. These gifts are key to research that
may change the way a wide range of ailments are treated,
including Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Of course, the idea of

(00:50):
having your organs picked over by strangers when the sun
sets on your time here among the living is enough
to give some of us the willies. Here are a
few things you should know about donating your brain to science. Obviously,
the decision to donate any body part is something that
you have to reach before you die, but it's also
important that people know about your choice before you leave

(01:10):
this world. For whatever might come next. A brain donor's
body has to be refrigerated or the brain put on
ice within six hours of death, according to researchers at
Harvard University. But yes, you can still have an open
casket funeral if you decide to give the gift of
your brain. After death, a person's face and hair are
not disturbed by the brain removal process, so your loved

(01:31):
ones are still able to have that one last look
if that's your preferred funerary practice. However, be aware that
the procedure is not tax deductible. Sure, agreeing to give
up your brain or any other organ too, science is
one of the more charitable things a person can do,
but that doesn't mean it's treated as a charitable donation
for tax purposes. But you don't need to have a

(01:52):
brain ailment to participate in a donation program. Researchers want
access to healthy brains so they can compare tissue to
those with various disease Jesus. By the way, the average
adult human brain weighs about three pounds that's one point
three to six kilograms, or about two percent of a
person's total body weight. If you decide to go ahead
with brain donation. There are certain steps required to seal

(02:14):
the deal. Designating yourself as an organ donor on your
driver's license alone does not give researchers the right to
take your brain, but can send for Brain donation can
be given by next of kin immediately following death. So
if it's something you want to do, you should talk
with your family and friends about it, share your wishes,
and register beforehand to donate your brain. If you are interested,
run a search for the Brain Donor Project. It's a

(02:37):
great starting place for information and resources. Today's episode is
based on the article five Things you Didn't Know about
donating your brain to science on how stuffworks dot Com,
written by Chris Opfer. Brain Stuff is production to by
Heart Radio in partnership with how stuffworks dot Com. It
is produced by Tyler Klang. Four more podcasts from my

(02:58):
heart Radio, visit the iHeart Radio app, Apple Podcasts, or
wherever you listen to your favorite shows.

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Josh Clark

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Jonathan Strickland

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Ben Bowlin

Ben Bowlin

Lauren Vogelbaum

Lauren Vogelbaum

Cristen Conger

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Christian Sager

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