Brain tissue donation

Information about donations to the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 Brain Tissue Bank for donors and next of kin.

How to arrange a donation

Lothian Birth Cohorts

We are extremely grateful for all donations to the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 (LBC1936) Brain Tissue Bank, which makes an incredibly valuable contribution to research.

To assist with brain tissue donation for a LBC1936 participant who has just died, please call one of the numbers below as soon as you can:


  • During office hours (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) call: 07913 296 845
  • Outside of office hours (evenings and weekends) call: 07432 017 170


Your call will be answered by a member of the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 Brain Tissue Bank team. In the unlikely event that you reach an answering machine, please leave a message with your name and telephone number and someone will call you back as quickly as they can.

When you call, you will be able to ask any questions you wish. If, after that, you decide to go ahead with your relative’s brain tissue bank donation, then you will be guided through the process. There should be no, or little, delay to funeral arrangements.

You can view the information provided to LBC1936 participants, their GP and next of kin, at the time of pre-mortem authorisation in the PDF document below.


The importance of brain tissue donation for research

The LBC1936 Brain Tissue Bank collects small samples of brain tissue from participants of the LBC1936 study who gave pre-mortem authorisation for the procedure.

What does the brain tissue bank contain?

Over 170 LBC1936 participants have given pre-mortem authorisation for donation of brain tissue samples in strict accordance with legal requirements and ethically approved procedures. Each donation has been examined by a neuropathologist and given a final diagnosis.

Research using LBC1936 brain tissue samples

Tissue donated by LBC1936 participants is made available to LBC researchers and collaborators who study the brain changes that occur in older age and how these contribute to changes in cognitive abilities, such as memory.

One reason the LBC1936 Brain Tissue Bank has the potential to provide advances in our understanding is because of the vast amount of knowledge our participants have shared with us during their lifetimes. For instance, we are able to compare changes observed in the brain with how well people retained their thinking skills in older age compared to when they were 11 years old.  We can also compare brain changes with other biological and lifestyle measures.

Another unique feature of our LBC1936 Brain Tissue Bank is the depth with which we can analyse brain changes due to methodological advances. We are one of the only centres in the world that prepares human brain tissue for the advanced imaging techniques called array tomography and electron microscopy, which allow examination of very small structures in the brain. In particular, these techniques allow us to look in great detail at the synaptic connections between brain cells which form the building blocks of memory and thinking.