Clark shared the news on Twitter: “I’ve decided to donate
my brain to Parkinson’s UK Brain Bank. I was so impressed with the research
work being carried out when I visited the facility with [Rory Cellan-Jones]”.
Clark has already raised thousands of pounds for
Parkinson’s UK, become a celebrity ‘Champion’ for the charity, and worked to
challenge stigma surrounding the condition.
He shared a video in which Cellan-Jones, a BBC technology correspondent who also has Parkinson’s, went behind the scenes of the Brain Bank at Imperial College London’s Hammersmith campus, in the UK. Cellan-Jones spoke to Professor Steve Gentleman in the dissection room, who explained that donated brain tissue is vital to research efforts. He concluded the visit by pledging his own brain.
Clark said: “The brain is the most precious thing we have.
It contains our loves, memories and our personality. Giving it to medical
research is the greatest gift I can offer. Imagine if your brain was the one
that unlocked a cure for this devastating neurological condition?”
He also highlighted that scientific research on brains was
“essential” to finding treatments for the condition.
In the UK, National Health Service organ donation is
considered distinct from brain donation – those wishing to pledge their brain
must submit separate forms to brain banks. Imperial College London is home to the
world’s only brain bank for Parkinson’s research and receives around 120
donations each year.
Fans and members of Parkinson’s community shared their
admiration for Clark on Twitter, and contributed stories of how family members,
or they themselves, had also pledged their brains.
Twitter user Lisa was inspired by Clark and Cellan-Jones:
Twitter user, Kathryn Dainty, said that her parents had also decided to donate their brains:
While Twitter user Katie Hofman expressed appreciation for Clark as a presenter:
Charity Parkinson’s UK voiced its gratitude for Clark’s ongoing support:
Lead image credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Parkinson’s UK Brain Bank
Parkinson’s UK Brain Bank is the only brain bank in the world dedicated to Parkinson’s research. Each brain is split into 250 samples which can then be used in scientific projects. This brain tissue contributes to scientists’ understanding of the condition and the development of new treatments. Many neurological conditions, including Parkinson’s, are unique to humans which means it can be difficult to conduct research on animal brains.
The organisation accepts brains from donors with or without Parkinson’s and plans to joint-fund a new digital brain bank, allowing scientists over the world to benefit from these pledged brains.
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