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Bristol dementia brain bank in appeal to reach anniversary target

Press release issued: 10 May 2012

Researchers at the University of Bristol Bristol are appealing for more people to consider brain donation in a bid to help it reach its first year target of 150 donors by June. The South West Dementia Brain Bank at the University is currently recruiting brain donors to a UK-wide project called Brains for Dementia Research (BDR).

The South West Dementia Brain Bank at the University is currently recruiting brain donors to a UK-wide project called Brains for Dementia Research (BDR). This £2 million initiative, joint funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK and Alzheimer’s Society, is collecting vital brain tissue in a bid to help scientists defeat dementia.

Bristol is the newest centre to join the BDR network and recruits donors from across the South West. After recruiting their first donor last June, the staff set an ambitious target of signing up 150 donors before the first anniversary of their involvement in the initiative. With the current register approaching 100, they are now asking people to help them beat their target by finding out more about brain donation and to consider making the generous pledge.

Chester Guttridge, 87, from Nailsea signed up to the South West Dementia Brain Bank four years ago and is now a member of the BDR project a donor who doesn’t have dementia. His wife Leila, who has Alzheimer’s, will also be donating her brain.

He said: “I am a huge supporter of research into Alzheimer’s and other dementias after seeing firsthand the effect it has on people and their families. Deciding to be a brain donor can be an emotional decision, but if my brain can contribute even a small amount to improving our understanding of dementia then it will have been hugely worthwhile.

“Brain tissue is vital for progress to be made in understanding the devastating diseases that cause dementia and I am happy to be doing my bit to help.”

Brains for Dementia Research recruits people who have dementia as well as people over the age of 65 who do not have dementia. Brains from people without dementia are essential for researchers to help understand how dementia differs from normal ageing. Every one or two years, each donor takes part in some simple memory and thinking tasks so that the research team can build a better picture of how their brains are working.

Professor Seth Love, Director of the Brain Bank and Professor of Neuropathology at the University of Bristol, spoke of the importance of the project. He said: “The project has been very successful so far and we are really grateful for those people who are already involved. Human brain tissue is an absolute gold standard for scientists trying to unravel the causes of dementia and develop effective new treatments.

“People who sign up to donate their brains after death are leaving a hugely generous legacy to help others in the future, but we do understand that brain donation is a decision that needs careful thought. We would urge anyone who is interested to contact us and find out more.”

For more information about the Brains for Dementia Research project at the South West Dementia Brain Bank, please contact Lynn Doran or Laura Palmer on 0117 3403070 or email


Further information

Brains for Dementia Research is a partnership between the Alzheimer’s Research UK and Alzheimer’s Society to promote brain donation and develop a network of brain tissue banks in England and Wales for dementia research. The project is being run in association with the Medical Research Council. The Brains for Dementia Research coordinating centre is based at King’s College London and there are six assessment and donation centres based at the Universities of Cardiff, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford and Bristol.

Alzheimer’s Research UK is the UK’s leading charity specialising in finding preventions, treatments and a cure for dementia. To help us defeat dementia, donate today by visiting or calling 01223 843899. We are currently supporting dementia research projects worth over £18 million in leading Universities across the UK.

Alzheimer's Society supports people to live well with dementia today and funds research to find a cure for tomorrow. We rely on voluntary donations to continue our vital work. You can donate now by calling 0845 306 0898 or visiting Alzheimer’s Society provides a National Dementia Helpline, the number is 0845 300 0336 or visit

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