Brain Donations in Canada

Occasionally, families ask Brain Support Network if we can help families to arrange brain donation for a loved one living in Canada.  You have likely been directed to this page as the most efficient way to provide you the information required to pursue a brain donation within Canada.

Today, Brain Support Network (BSN) cannot facilitate brain donations in Canada.  This is true, first, because we haven’t been able to identify pathology resources in Canada who are willing to commit to brain recoveries planned in advance, though we have found pathologists-on-call in certain hospitals willing to be engaged at the last minute.

Second, BSN routes brain tissue primarily to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.  The Mayo Clinic reports to us that tissue shipped from Canada to the US is often delayed by US Customs, spoiling the tissue.

We have identified a few options for those living in Canada interested in brain donation. All options rely on medical facilities. Unfortunately, COVID-19 will be impacting the willingness of medical facilities to do brain donations due to:

  • the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for nonessential procedures, and
  • concern over infection of staff if there is any evidence of respiratory symptoms prior to the death of a brain donor.

Check with the options listed below to learn if they can help you at this time.

 

1.  Maritime Brain Tissue Bank 

Sir Charles Tupper Building
Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4R2
Phone: 902-494-4130 (Andrew Reid)

Your attending physician may be able to work with your local hospital to arrange for brain donation.

 

2.  Douglas-Bell Canada Brain Bank (residents of Quebec)

Douglas Hospital Research Centre
6875 LaSalle Blvd.
Borough of Verdun
Montreal, Quebec H4H 1R3
Phone: 514-761-6131 x0 (ask for the Brain Bank)

This brain bank only accepts brain donations from residents of Quebec. Your attending physician may be able to work with your local hospital to arrange for brain donation.

 

3.  Southwestern Ontario Brain Bank at the London Movement Disorders Centre (residents of/near London, Ontario)

London Health Sciences Centre
339 Windermere Road,
A10-026, London, Ontario  N6A 5A5
Movement Disorders Centre Phone: 519-663-3814
Dr. Mandar S. Jog, Director, Movement Disorders Centre, Cell Phone: 519-860-0671

The intended brain donor must be a patient of the London Movement Disorders Centre, and must live in/near London, Ontario.  If the prospective donor has not already been seen at the London Movement Disorders Centre, there is a lengthy waitlist.

 

4.  Contact the closest medical school to the location of the prospective donor.

Note, however medical schools typically only accept brain donations if there is current research at that medical school which requires brain tissue.