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'Brain shortage' impairs Parkinson's cure

8th September 2005

A literal 'brain shortage' is impairing the development of treatments for diseases like Parkinson's, scientists at the British Association Science Festival have said.

Dr Kirstin Goldring manager of the UK Parkinson's Disease Society Tissue Bank at Imperial College London said that for every 25 Parkinson's-affected brains donated to science, only one makes it into research labs.

Dr Goldring told the BBC: "We don't just need brains from people who have the disease, we need tissue from people that don't have the disease. In this way, we can compare what is going on in a normal, aging brain with what is happening in a diseased brain."

She added that people often do not think about donating their brain when considering organ donation.

The degenerative condition Parkinson's disease affects around 120,000 people in the UK annually. There is no presently known cure.