Saturday, May 17, 2014

"Are You Serious?" Awards - Volume XVIII: The Autism Brain Edition


We all know that scientific research is critical to parents like us, raising children with a chronic illness or special need.  Much-needed treatments and cures hinge upon information uncovered in research labs.  Causality and prevention are also revealed through scientific investigation.  But what do you do when the material you need to explore is so close, yet so far from reach?

This is exactly what a collaborative project between Autism Speaks, researchers, and pathologists seeks to address.  It seems that there is a huge shortage of brains being donated postmortem by individuals affected by autism spectrum disorders.  In fact, I nearly fell over when I learned via an article by Disability Scoop that only "four to six brain donations per year", are added to the collection of samples.
 
 Are you SERIOUS?!
 
Image courtesy of Ohmega 1982 via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

For as activated and vocal as the autism community can be, it is hard to comprehend how there have been so FEW brain donations to this critical work.  Granted, this critical lack of needed tissue has been exacerbated by one-third of the world's largest brain bank becoming unusable due to a freezer malfunction.  However, I think we parents can majorly help turn the tide on this situation. 

I urge every one who reads this post to go visit the Autism Brain Net website.  Learn more about brain donation.  If you are a parent, educate yourself and explore the idea of registering to donate brain tissue at death.  Spread the word in your autism communities, the waiting rooms of your occupational therapists, at camp, in schools, and amongst friends.  Every person you touch could create a possible donation, which in turn, can lead to the uncovering of critical information at the cellular level.

Let our renewed awareness and advocacy turn the tide on this shortage!

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