ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)– The Brain Bank at St. Louis University Hospital celebrates its 30th birthday next year. Since it was established, it has played a vital role in helping doctors around the world find treatments for Alzheimer’s patients as scientists search for a cure. Dr. George Grossberg is the medical director and founder of the Brain Bank. “I think we are making a lot of progress but it’s a very complicated set of diseases,” he stated.
Dr. George Grossberg opened the Brain Bank in 1985. It’s in the hospital morgue. They have a room full of brains, each in a plastic container. They’re from people who were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Tissues from the different brains are dispatched around the world to scientists. Dr. Grossberg added, “They use it for research and they often have federal funding, NIH funding to look at different aspect of Alzheimer’s disease.”
Some 1,200 families have donated their loved ones’ organs to the bank. The Alzheimer’s Association funded the Brain Bank and they are finally seeing a payoff in all the research.
Stephanie Rohloff Young is the V.P. of Programs at the St. Louis Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. “We now understand some of the triggers and mechanism related to Alzheimer’s. We’re finding the mechanisms that can trigger what happens and changes the disease for individuals.”
Dr. Grossberg said, “Alzheimer’s is still the number one cause of senility. But experts recently discovered that no longer are strokes the number 2 cause of dementia, instead it’s a disease called lewy body. That information tells doctors how to better care for patients.
Wiliam Lott is an autopsy technician and works in the Brain Bank. He knows one day he could be part of a cure for the terrible illness. Lott said, “I think it’s really important, very important.”
It looks like a cure is still years away but as long as SLU’s Brain Bank is in operation, there is reason for hope.