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      Twenty-first century brain banking: practical prerequisites and lessons from the past: the experience of New York Brain Bank, Taub Institute, Columbia University.

      Cell and Tissue Banking

      Academies and Institutes, Biomedical Research, Brain, Cryopreservation, Humans, New York, Pathology, organization & administration, Tissue Banks, Universities, trends, Tissue Preservation, Tissue and Organ Procurement

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          Generally accepted methods for processing postmortem brains are lacking, despite the efforts of pioneers in the field, and the growing awareness of the importance of brain banking for investigating the pathogenesis of illnesses unique to humans. Standardizing methods requires compromises, institutional or departmental mindset promoting collaboration, and the willingness to share ideas, information, and samples. A sound balance between competition and institutional interests is needed to best fulfill the tasks entrusted to health care institutions. Thus, a potentially widely accepted protocol design involves tradeoffs. We successfully integrated brain banking within the operation of the department of pathology. We reached a consensus whereby a brain can be utilized for diagnosis, research, and teaching. Thus, routing brains away from residency programs is avoided. The best diagnostic categorization possible is being secured and the yield of samples for research maximized. Thorough technical details pertaining to the actual processing of brains donated for research were recently published. Briefly, one-half of each brain is immersed in formalin for performing the neuropathologic evaluation, which is combined with the teaching task. The contralateral half is extensively dissected at the fresh state to obtain samples ready for immediate disbursement once categorized diagnostically. The samples are tracked electronically, which is crucial. This important tracking system is described separately in this issue. This report focuses on key lessons learned over the past 25 years of brain banking including successful solutions to originally unforeseen problems.

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