Back to Journals » Journal of Biorepository Science for Applied Medicine » Volume 3 » Issue 1

Why brain banking should be regarded as a special type of biobanking: ethical, practical, and data-management challenges

Authors Nussbeck S, Wemheuer W, Beier K

Received 18 December 2014

Accepted for publication 6 March 2015

Published 12 May 2015 Volume 2015:3(1) Pages 3—14


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Martin H. Bluth

Sara Y Nussbeck,1,2,* Wiebke M Wemheuer,3,4,* Katharina Beier,5

1Department of Medical Informatics, University Medical Center Göttingen, Göttingen, Lower Saxony, Germany; 2UMG Biobank, University Medical Center Göttingen, Göttingen, Lower Saxony, Germany; 3Department of Neuropathology, University Medical Center Göttingen, Göttingen, Lower Saxony, Germany; 4Experimental Neurobiology Group, Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg; 5Department of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, University Medical Center Göttingen, Göttingen, Lower Saxony, Germany 

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: Biobanking of the brain and other central nervous system materials, ie, brain banking (BB), provides an important research tool for understanding the causes of neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases. Particularly with aging societies, there is an increasing need for molecular neuropathological research in this field. While there is an extensive debate on biobanking in general, the specific challenges that the procurement, processing, and storage of postmortem human brain tissue, and especially whole brains, raise are hardly ever considered systematically. This paper analyzes the peculiarities that make BB a distinct type of biobanking by combining the perspectives of neuropathology, medical informatics, and medical ethics. While ethical, practical, and data-management issues are often dealt with separately and the focus of such research is on only specific aspects of BB, this paper aims at an integrated analysis of the whole process. Six crucial steps in the BB workflow are analyzed: a) donor recruitment, b) follow-up during the donor's lifetime, c) postmortem brain donation, d) neuropathological diagnosis, e) research with brain tissue, and f) the provision of brain material to third parties. A comprehensive understanding of the challenges that BB raises is vital for making this practice more effective but also to counteract the current decline in brain-donation rates.

Keywords: brain autopsy, brain donation, neuropathology, neuroscience research, ethical, legal, and social issues, IT infrastructure

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]


Other article by this author:

Readers of this article also read:

A new recombinant factor VIII: from genetics to clinical use

Kannicht C, Kohla G, Tiemeyer M, Walter O, Sandberg H

Drug Design, Development and Therapy 2015, 9:3817-3819

Published Date: 23 July 2015

Acquired hemophilia A: emerging treatment options

Janbain M, Leissinger CA, Kruse-Jarres R

Journal of Blood Medicine 2015, 6:143-150

Published Date: 8 May 2015

Profile of efraloctocog alfa and its potential in the treatment of hemophilia A

George LA, Camire RM

Journal of Blood Medicine 2015, 6:131-141

Published Date: 24 April 2015

Romiplostim as a treatment for immune thrombocytopenia: a review

Chalmers S, Tarantino MD

Journal of Blood Medicine 2015, 6:37-44

Published Date: 19 January 2015

Second case report of successful electroconvulsive therapy for a patient with schizophrenia and severe hemophilia A

Saito N, Shioda K, Nisijima K, Kobayashi T, Kato S

Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment 2014, 10:865-867

Published Date: 16 May 2014

Green synthesis of water-soluble nontoxic polymeric nanocomposites containing silver nanoparticles

Prozorova GF, Pozdnyakov AS, Kuznetsova NP, Korzhova SA, Emel’yanov AI, Ermakova TG, Fadeeva TV, Sosedova LM

International Journal of Nanomedicine 2014, 9:1883-1889

Published Date: 16 April 2014

A novel preparation method for silicone oil nanoemulsions and its application for coating hair with silicone

Hu Z, Liao M, Chen Y, Cai Y, Meng L, Liu Y, Lv N, Liu Z, Yuan W

International Journal of Nanomedicine 2012, 7:5719-5724

Published Date: 12 November 2012

The use of PEGylated liposomes in the development of drug delivery applications for the treatment of hemophilia

Rivka Yatuv, Micah Robinson, Inbal Dayan-Tarshish, et al

International Journal of Nanomedicine 2010, 5:581-591

Published Date: 6 August 2010