The first organised brain tissue bio-repository (brain bank) in Africa has commenced at the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan.
Dr Rufus Akinyemi, a consultant neurologist, speaking at the sideline of iResearch 2018 of the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, said the bank will also accrue, process and store spinal cord, spinal cord and brain biopsies, and body fluids including cerebrospinal fluid and blood.
He stated that the Ibadan Brain Ageing, Dementia And Neurodegeneration (IBADAN) Brain Bank had been collecting brain tissue from subjects for over one year with consent from their next-of-kin and pre-enrolled consenting donors.
According to him, the brains in the bank are from individuals over 40 years of age that had no history of substance abuse (except for alcohol and nicotine use).
He, however, said that the brain bank had excluded those that have died after sustaining a major head injury or that had received assisted ventilation for more than 24hours.
The brain bank, he declared is to support future research into brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, depression and schizophrenia.
Although several independent brain banks exist in high-income countries, he declared that only five low and middle – income countries (LMIC) have brain banks despite the banks’ increasing global importance as a resource in the last three decades.
According to him, ”The African continent is yet to establish a formalised brain bank despite its huge human genomic diversity, ageing of her populations with concomitant increases in ageing – associated brain disorders and differential phenotypic expression and outcomes of brain disorders.
“The brain bank is particularly important for the study of conditions for which suitable animal models are lacking or inappropriate.
“It is vital to studies required to shape and understand the interaction between racial (genetic) and geographical (environmental) factors in the natural history and mechanisms of disease, with implications for appropriate new therapeutic and preventative interventions.”
Data that will be available on each brain at the bank will include demographic, clinical, laboratory, radiological and pathological data; a comprehensive overview of lifestyle, neuropsychometric assessment and family history of the donor.
Additional details such as liver pathology, blood alcohol levels at the point of death, head injury if any are also provided where available.