The New York Brain Bank of Columbia University: Practical Highlights of 35 Years of Experience

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Handb Clin Neurol


The New York Brain Bank processes brains and organs of clinically well-characterized patients with age-related neurodegenerative diseases, and for comparison, from individuals without neurologic or psychiatric impairments. The donors, either patients or individuals, were evaluated at healthcare facilities of the Columbia University of New York. Each source brain yields four categories of samples: fresh frozen blocks and crushed parenchyma, and formalin-fixed wet blocks and histology sections. A source brain is thoroughly evaluated to determine qualitatively and quantitatively any changes it might harbor using conventional neuropathologic techniques. The clinical and pathologic diagnoses are integrated to determine the distributive diagnosis assigned to the samples obtained from a source brain. The gradual standardization of the protocol was developed in 1981 in response to the evolving requirements of basic investigations on neurodegeneration. The methods assimilate long-standing experience from multiple centers. The resulting and current protocol includes a constant central core applied to all brains with conditional flexibility around it. The New York Brain Bank is an integral part of the department of pathology, where the expertise, teaching duties, and hardware are shared. Since details of the protocols are available online, this chapter focuses on practical issues in professionalizing brain banking.

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Academies and Institutes; Brain; History, 20th Century; History, 21st Century; Humans; Information Systems; New York; Tissue Banks; Universities

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