The Alzheimer’s Association’s Brain Donation Initiative

When not acting as a licensed clinical psychologist for Irvine, California families, Miriam Galindo advocates for multiple nonprofit causes. One group Miriam Galindo supports is the Alzheimer’s Association. Through funding programs like brain donation, the Alzheimer’s Association seeks to determine the causes of the disease and eventually find a cure.

One of the most valuable contributions an ally of the Alzheimer’s Association can make is to join neurological clinical trials during life, alongside donating their brain to science after death. The generated data will further researchers’ efforts to identify factors that increase and decrease a patient’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s, and the changes in the brain that occur as a result of aging. Interested parties can sign up for clinical trials via Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers (ADRCs), located regionally, and candidates undergo screening to determine if their closest center needs brain samples from that candidate’s demographics.

The National Institute on Aging (NIA), the group that allies with the Alzheimer’s Association to coordinate brain donation, emphasizes that researchers need brain donations from diverse individuals. To maximize the impact of collected data, the NIA calls for individuals from underrepresented backgrounds of all age groups, with and without a brain condition themselves. The NIA also asks that candidates who have non-Alzheimer’s forms of dementia, and those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and a family history of the disease, also contribute, to fill in gaps about how all dementias develop, and help in discovering the genetic markers that increase risk for Alzheimer’s.