Transcript - Jane Asher visits the Parkinson's Brain Bank
Jane Asher discusses the importance of brain donation on
her visit to the Parkinson's UK Brain Bank.
Jane Asher visits the Parkinson's UK Brain Bank
This is the Parkinson's Brain Bank in Imperial College, London, and
it's completely fascinating. I've had a look all round it and been
shown what they do and the work is completely remarkable, and does
make you understand how just how important it is that they have the
brains to look at, to research into, which will give all the clues
to what causes Parkinson's and what future treatments might be.
In Parkinson's Awareness Week this year, 2009, we're launching a
very important campaign, which is to try to persuade people to
pledge to donate their brains after death to the Parkinson's Brain
This is very important, because not only do they need the brains
of those who have been diagnosed with Parkinson's and other related
conditions, but they need control brains, clearly, they need the
brains of people who don’t have Parkinson's or don't appear to have
Parkinson's, so that they can compare the differences between the
Parkinson's brain and the supposedly 'normal' brain. So it's very
important that as many of us as possible pledge to donate our
Already a thousand people have pledged to donate their brains,
we want to double that number in this very special year. This is
our 40th year of the Parkinson's Disease Society [now Parkinson's
UK], so there couldn't be a better year to really make a difference
by pledging your brain to this excellent cause.
The Parkinson's Brain Donor Appeal is very important to me. I
have a brother-in-law who has Parkinson's so I’ve seen it first
hand, just the kind of devastating suffering and difficulty that
this wretched condition can cause and I can see that this campaign,
if it's effective, if we get enough brains pledged, really could
lead to a cure for Parkinson's. So this appeal is vital.
I really do think if people know that by pledging their brain
they can make such a difference to the wellbeing of so many people,
I do believe most people would be only too happy to "yes, when I've
gone, please use my brain in such a wonderful cause".
I have pledged to donate my brain after my death, it is very
important that we have brains of people who haven't been diagnosed
with Parkinson's, so that they can be used as controls, so they can
study the differences that have happened in the brain with a
diagnosis of Parkinson's and other related conditions and the brain
of somebody without Parkinson's. I really would encourage everyone
to think about pledging their brain after their death, but I do
understand some people may feel a little bit uneasy about that and
meanwhile there are so many other ways that you can help the
Parkinson's Disease Society.
There are fantastic local branches, which I know from my own
brother-in-law's experience, can make a huge difference to the
lives of those living with Parkinson's and they are always looking
for volunteers or helpers.
And like every voluntary organisation of course we need support.
We are entirely dependant on voluntary donations, so every little
bit that you can give will help us move towards a world without
This Parkinson's Brain Bank is the most amazing facility.
They've got the most high tech equipment here, they've got loads of
freezers where they can keep all the brains that they need to use
for research. It's very exciting and very positive to be here. It's
not often you see a laboratory that's so clean, high tech,
efficient, modern. All they need now are the brains.
If they can get enough brains in this Brain Bank to do the
research, I really believe we can move very fast towards a cure for