Studying Parkinson’s disease is made particularly difficult by the fact that scientists are unable to examine the brains of living patients. They must rely on the generous donation of brains by patients—as well as some family members—to brain banks. A story in the newsletter of the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation tells about some of the gains made by scientists at the brain banks supported by the foundation, at Columbia University Center and Rush University Medical Center.
In a related story in the same issue, a New York Times reporter writes movingly of her scientist father’s donation of his brain and the comfort it brings to his family. The reporter, Kate Zernike, writes, “In the two years since, the experience of the brain donation has allowed my father to be more alive to me—more Dad—than he was at his sickest.”