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First brain donated by ALS patient in Taiwan to boost future research

03/27/2024 08:49 PM
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The wife of the brain donor helps him sign the agreement for the donation. Photo courtesy of Taichung Tzu Chi Hospital March 26, 2024
The wife of the brain donor helps him sign the agreement for the donation. Photo courtesy of Taichung Tzu Chi Hospital March 26, 2024

Taipei, March 27 (CNA) The first brain donated by a patient who died from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) was delivered to the Taiwan Brain Bank recently, according to a press release issued by Taichung Tzu Chi Hospital on Tuesday.

The donor, Huang Ting-cheng (黃鼎承), was a 50-year-old man diagnosed three years ago with the fatal motor neuron disease, which progressively paralyzes patients.

Huang decided to donate his brain when he heard the brain bank was seeking brain tissue from patients with motor neuron diseases for medical research and drug development, in order to help other patients and their families.

After being notified of Huang's decision, Hsieh Sung-tsang (謝松蒼), Taiwan Brain Bank Association chair and neurology physician at National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH), traveled from Taipei to the Taichung hospital where Huang was receiving hospice care in March.

At the time, Huang was already paralyzed below the neck and signed the organ donation consent form with his wife guiding his hand.

Huang passed away on March 20 after being taken off life-support. His body was then transferred to NTUH,the only hospital currently capable of brain donation operations.

Also on Tuesday, Hsieh told the press via a phone interview that he was very grateful for Huang's generosity.

Huang was the first ASL brain donor in Taiwan, making it particularly meaningful for the brain bank, Hsieh added.

Other studies have indicated that neurodegenerative diseases can affect other organs, Hsieh said.

Therefore, in addition to his brain, Huang also donated his heart, liver, lungs, intestines and stomach, as well as his blood for next generation sequencing.

Since its establishment in November 2023, the brain bank has received over a dozen signed brain donation consent forms from patients as well as healthy people.

(By Chao Li-yen, Shen Pei-yao and Wu Kuan-hsien)

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