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When a person donates, they are helping find better ways to diagnose and treat the millions of people living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

Some of the most exciting advances and discoveries come from studying brain tissue, which is why we need your help.

Families receive a definitive diagnosis

Details of the donor’s medical history are collected and a careful examination of the donation is performed. A neuropathology report will then be sent to families on the type and levels of pathology found, helping family members assess their risks for developing dementia or other neurologic diseases.

Anyone can donate

People who do not exhibit memory loss or other cognitive problems can also donate to help advance research. Brains without disease help us determine which changes in the brain are from normal aging and what makes some individuals resistant to diseases like Alzheimer’s. No referrals are needed to donate.

Donation arrangements

Brain donation comes at no cost to the family and will not delay funeral arrangements. Our team at the Biggs Institute will work with family members to make all necessary arrangements for transportation and donation. Brain donation is a decision that should be discussed with family members. We are here to help you with these important conversations. For more information, call 210-450-8423 or email BrainBank@UTHealthSA.org.

To enroll in our donation program

Call 210-450-8423 or email BrainBank@UTHealthSA.org to inform us of your intent to donate. Then download and complete our questionnaire and consent form. You may email the completed consent form to BrainBank@UTHealthSA.org or mail the form to: Vijaya Valaparla- Biggs Institute,  7703 Floyd Curl Dr., San Antonio, TX 78229.

Click to download the donation questionnaire and consent form (PDF)

Instructions on how to electronically sign and complete a PDF form

The brain donation process occurs in seven steps from enrolling into the program to the actual donation.

Step 1. Call 210-450-8423 or email the Biggs Institute Brain Bank at BrainBank@UTHealthSA.org to inform us of your intent to donate.

Step 2. Complete our questionnaire and consent form. For instructions on how to digitally fill in a PDF form, click here.

Step 3. Designate a family member or other representative to contact the Biggs Institute at the time of death. When the time comes to donate, call the 24/7 donation phone line at 210-258-4348.
It is preferred that the Institute is contacted when death seems imminent or within an hour of death.

Step 4. Tissue removal is performed by a professional at the hospital or at the funeral home selected by the family.

Step 5. The autopsy is performed and the tissue is stored in a carefully controlled setting.

Step 6. Family or other designated recipients are notified with the results of the brain autopsy. (This may take up to a year.)

Step 7. Brain tissue is available to qualified scientists at the Biggs Institute Brain Bank and across the country for critical research.

Brain donation comes at no cost to the family. Our team at the Biggs Institute will work with family members to make all necessary arrangements for transportation and donation.

Brain donation does not affect or delay funeral arrangements. Removal is performed carefully and respectfully by an experienced professional and does not interfere with plans for open casket viewing or cremation.

According to the National Institute on Aging, most religions view organ donation as valuable to society and believe that donating an organ is a personal decision. For questions that are specific to your faith, we encourage you to contact a leader in your religion directly.

If for any reason you feel brain donation is not right for you or your family, call 210-258-4348 to cancel your donation at any time.

For more information or to enroll into our program, call 210-450-8423 or email BrainBank@UTHealthSA.org.

When the time comes to donate, call the 24/7 donation phone number at 210-258-4348.