Clark shared the news on Twitter: “I’ve decided to donate
my brain to the 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 the 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
The Parkinson’s UK Brain Bank
The 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.
‘Chopsticks are not easy for a person with Parkinson’s’
In the third in our series on this year’s World Parkinson Congress (WPC),
1 day ago
Researchers “stunned” by study that raises hopes for Parkinson’s treatment
A new study reprogramming cells to replace reduced dopamine neurons in the brain could be used to reverse symptoms of Parkinson’s and other neurological conditions. As part of the study – conducted by the University of California San Diego (UCSD) – researchers found a way to convert star-shaped brain cells called astrocytes into cells producing dopamine. The team used the method to treat mouse models of Parkinson’s, administering the treatment into the areas of the brain that typically lose dopamine producing neurons. This restored reduced dopamine production to normal levels and reversed the symptoms of Parkinson’s. The researchers will continue to optimise the therapy in other mouse models of Parkinson’s before testing it on people with the condition. William Mobley, a neurosciences professor at UCSD, said: “I was stunned at what I saw. This whole new strategy for treating neurodegeneration gives hope that it may be possible to help even…
Could a magnetically powered implant treat Parkinson’s tremors?
A tiny surgical implant about the size of a grain of rice that can be implanted with minimally invasive surgery may be used to treat tremors in people with Parkinson’s. Developed by a team of researchers at Rice University, US, the implant uses a thin film of magnetoelectric material to convert acoustic waves from the brain’s magnetic field into electrical voltage. The device produces the same high-frequency signals as clinically approved implants used to treat Parkinson’s, epilepsy and other conditions – and eliminates the need for battery or wired power supply. In an initial study, the researchers showed that the implants worked in rodents. Professor Jacob Robinson, corresponding author of the study, said: “Our results suggest that using magnetoelectric materials for wireless power delivery is more than a novel idea. These materials are excellent candidates for clinical-grade, wireless bioelectronics.”
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