Finding a cure for any neurological disorder begins with the scientific study of the disorder’s causes, processes, and development in the brain. For essential tremor (ET), rigorous study of this kind had not been undertaken until 2003, when the Essential Tremor Centralized Brain Repository (ETCBR) was established at Columbia University. For the past five years, brain tissue from ET donors has been collected, processed and compared alongside age-matched control brains at the ETCBR, and already several significant findings have been made. However, there is still much to learn and a severe shortage of ET brains for scientific study.
If you have been diagnosed with essential tremor, donating your brain tissue in the hours immediately after your death is of utmost importance in providing crucial information about what causes ET. Direct analysis of the shape and number of nerve cells and their content will provide medical researchers with the information they need in order to understand this complex illness. By advancing our medical knowledge of ET, the gift of brain tissue is a central piece of the puzzle in the search to develop better treatments and find a cure.
Abnormalities involving the Purkinje cell are thought to result in the symptoms of essential tremor. Researchers at Columbia University study these cells by using visualization techniques such as the Golgi stain (pictured above).
The Essential Tremor Centralized Brian Repository is funded by a grant from the National Institute of Health.