Brain Donation Program

Participants in the Health Outreach Program for the Elderly (HOPE) study are asked to consider brain donation after death. Brain donation is important for several reasons. First, examining the brain after death is the only way to reach a definite diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or other dementias. Donation can provide families with closure by informing them that the diagnosis was, without a doubt, AD or a related disorder. Second, brain donation provides valuable information to scientists for important research that will help solve the mysteries of AD and improve treatment for future patients. Third, brain donation allows patients and loved ones to provide a gift of hope to future generations in the fight against AD. HOPE staff are available to discuss the results of the brain examination. For more information on brain donation, please view our brain donation page.

African Americans and Brain Donation

Brain donation is a particularly important issue for African Americans individuals and communities, as well as researchers dedicated to bridging the gap in knowledge about AD among African Americans. African American elders are at greater risk for developing AD than their White counterparts. The reasons for this increased risk, however, are still unknown. Brain donation helps researchers to develop a better understanding of the prevention and treatment of AD among African Americans. Therefore, African American participation in brain donation programs is crucial to developing a greater awareness of the ways in which AD affects African American elders.

African Americans generally participate in both clinical research and organ donation programs at lower rates than White individuals. Since the BU ADC’s mission includes gaining knowledge about African American issues in AD, we are committed to increasing awareness about the significance of brain donation and related research among African Americans. In order to gain greater understanding of African Americans and brain donation, the BU ADC Education & Outreach Core team conducted a survey about brain donation with HOPE study participants and held three focus groups related to Black elders’ perceptions of brain donation. Through information provided by 15 Black and African American HOPE participants, we developed a brain donation brochure specifically for African Americans. Click here to view the brochure.

Learn more about Brain Donation

We appreciate that brain donation is a serious commitment. We encourage you and your loved ones to contact Meenakshi Chivukula with your questions or concerns about brain tissue donation. She would be happy to speak with you and your loved ones about this important decision.

Ms. Meenakshi Chivukula
African American Brain Tissue Donation Contact
Alzheimer’s Disease Center
72 East Concord Street, B-7800
Boston, MA 02118