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National MS Brain Bank Needs You: Help Advance Research on Pathways to MS Cures

September 7, 2023

The National MS Brain Bank is enrolling people with MS and healthy participants for a brain donation program. The brain bank team tracks your clinical information and imaging scans and later will link them with an in-depth characterization of brain tissue obtained from autopsy. This greatly enhances the informative value of the brain tissue and helps unlock disease processes underlying MS. This brain bank, supported by the National MS Society, will serve as a major resource to the scientific community, advancing research on pathways to MS cures.
Watch videos of people explaining why they have signed up
Learn more about how this effort is paving the way to cures in Momentum magazine.


Why Do Researchers Need a Brain Bank? Multiple sclerosis is a complex disease with a highly variable course, different disease stages and multiple underlying processes. Because of this complexity and the uniqueness of the human brain, MS is best studied in the people who live with it, rather than in animal models. When people donate their brain tissue to research, it becomes a precious resource.

Established in 2020, the Brain Bank is a collaboration between investigators at Columbia University, the National Institutes of Health, and the Yale School of Medicine. The Brain Bank is made possible with funding from the National MS Society.

What is involved? Individuals living with MS who wish to donate their brain and related tissues after death are invited to enroll in a long-term study. They will be contacted intermittently so that the researchers can track their course of disease and symptoms, and their treatments. Participants are also invited to share MRI scans or reports.

With the help of a close family member, the brain bank team is contacted when death is near and the research team makes arrangements to obtain the tissues. The remains are returned promptly to the funeral home and family for memorial or religious services, and there is no disfigurement. Learn more about how brain donation works.

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For immediate assistance with brain donation, please call 201-951-6661.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, and there is currently no cure for MS. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and it affects women three times more than men.


© 2023 The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is a tax exempt 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Its Identification Number (EIN) is 13-5661935.