Taub Institute: Genomics Core


Columbia University
Irving Medical Center
Neurological Institute

710 West 168th Street, 3rd floor
(212) 305-6939

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Patient Care

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Will brain donation disfigure the body?
A. No. The brain donation is performed by a trained physician, a pathologist, who is as skilled as a surgeon in performing the procedure. An open casket is still possible, and the examination does not delay preparation of the body for burial.

Q. Does the entire body have to be examined?
A. No. Brain autopsy is limited to the brain only. This is sufficient to enable us to make a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or another type of dementia.

Q. Will brain donation delay the funeral?
A. No. The examination is done soon after we are notified of the patient's death. The procedure is completed within hours, and we work with the funeral directors in order to expedite transition of the body from the medical center to the funeral home. If desired, we will provide the family with a report of the findings. Generally, results are available in about 3 months.

Q. What is done with the tissue once it is removed?
A. The first procedure is to analyze the tissue to establish an accurate diagnosis. After the examination, we use the tissue for scientific studies designed to understand the causes of Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. The brain tissue is then stored for future investigation as needed.

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