Anyone know if people without MS can help in this area too? I wouldn't mind donating everything I've got to scientific research. I'm already an organ donor, but considering they don't do brain transplants (amongst other body parts) I'm wondering how I can donate the rest of me to science (and encourage others to do the same).
This is a quote from Sapient I saw in the Blood Donor thread, written in regard to a comment someone made about donating their brain to scientific study. I read the entire thread and didn't see a response to Sapient's question, so thought I'd answer in a new thread so as not to de-rail the Blood Donor thread.
Sapient - and anyone else who may be interested in donating their body for medical study and research upon their death - if you do an online search using the search criteria 'body donation' or 'willed body' you'll find links to many excellent organizations, schools of medicine and Universities that accept donated bodies for anatomical, medical and research study.
Some are whole body donation programs, and some will allow a person to be an organ donor and still participate in a body donor program.
Some programs will allow a person to specify what research they want to donate to, but they can't always guarantee this can be done as there may or may not be a need for that specific research through that specific program at the time that specific body is used.
As far as I could tell from my research, pretty much all of the programs will not accept bodies under certain conditions:
* Hepatitis B or C
* Creutzfeld-Jakob disease (mad cow disease)
* Active tuberculosis or syphilis
* Viral encephalitis
* Active (unresolved) venereal disease
* Non-therapeutic IV drug use
* Death from or with any other contagious disease (such as Malaria, Hanta virus, Ebola virus, etc.)
* if they already have an adequate number of donors (although it seems nearly everyone is in need of donors at any given time)
Some will not accept bodies:
* with organs and/or tissues removed after death except for cornea donation to an eye bank
* that have had an autopsy, whether by family request or under the authority of the Office of the Medical Investigator (OMI)
* with wasting diseases that have resulted in dramatic loss of weight and body mass
* with IV fluid retention causing excessive edema
* that are morbidly obese
But not all of these conditions are the case with all programs.
Initially, for decades, I was an organ donor. I put a huge amount of thought and consideration into becoming a whole body donor instead. While I know that there is consistently a great need for organ donation, and always will be, I decided that the way I want to help humanity when I die is by having medical students and researchers learn as much as they can from my body, as there is also a great need for that.
Medical students absolutely must have human bodies to learn from - there is no substitute. Because I have a spinal cord injury, and a couple of other physical conditions, I decided my body will probably be of more use this way than it would be if I donated my organs. And if I live to be an old age, my organs might not be useful.
After doing quite a bit of research on various body donor organizations, medical schools with body donor programs and Universities with programs I finally made the decision to donate my body to the University in the city in which I live. They are part of a very good teaching hospital with excellent programs in cancer and spinal cord research and treatment.
One plus to keep in mind when considering body donation is that most of them will incurr the costs of transporting the body to their facilities, pay for all costs involved, and also pay to cremate the body and return it to the family. The only thing you have to be very careful about is that when the donor dies they cannot be taken to a funeral home, or the the family will have to pay for the costs to have the body taken from the funeral home to where the body has been donated. Otherwise, the program or University will pay to pick up the body.
Now I can (jokingly) say that I'm finally going to go to medical school! (Okay, not funny!)
Keep your theology off my biology.