Donate Your Brain


Are you a Veteran or Member of the US Armed Forces interested in brain donation?

If you are interested in brain donation:

  • Email  OR….

  • Call the toll-free CENC Neuropathology Core number: (857) 364-5694.

You can help if you:

1. Are a Veteran or Member of the US Armed Forces

2. Are eighteen years of age or older

3. Have a history of any type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) including multiple concussions or blast-related injury

4. Have not had another brain illness or injury (such as going too long without oxygen or a brain infection)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is brain donation?
Brain donation makes it possible to study the changes in the human brain caused by TBI.

Why donate?

By donating your brain, you are providing a gift to help current and future service members and veterans.
Unfortunately, little is known about how the brain is changes after a TBI. Approximately 15 – 20% of service members returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) reported having had at least one TBI, and data suggest that even more service members deployed for Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) have experienced TBIs. While most of TBIs are classified as mild, they can have disabling long-term consequences. Through the gift of brain donation, scientists will be able to develop better ways to detect, monitor, prevent and treat TBI in living service members and veterans.

Who is conducting this research?

The Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium (CENC) is a collaborative Federal program involving the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Veterans Administration (VA) clinicians and scientists to study the chronic effects of TBI.

Who can give consent for brain donation?

A legally authorized representative (usually, the next-of-kin) may give consent to donate brain tissue following an individual’s death. If you are interested, please make sure your wishes are known by your next-of-kin.

What happens to the body?

The donation does not interfere with a funeral. A simple incision in the back of the head is made, the brain is removed, and the incision is closed. No facial disfigurement occurs and the donation will be undetectable.

Will there be a delay for the funeral?

No. Brain donation will not delay or complicate plans for a funeral.

Will our religion permit this?

Most religions accept brain donation in the hope that this knowledge will improve the lives of others. If you are concerned about this, we encourage you to discuss donation with your spiritual leader.

Will I have to pay for this service?

No, the procedures are entirely funded by a grant from the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Veterans Administration (VA).

Who will have access to the information about the brain, medical and service records, and the post mortem examination?

At the time the brain is received, it is assigned a number. Only designated staff has permission to access the medical and/or service records and autopsy report.
Names and identifying information are not provided to those outside of the Brain Donation Team

What if, after giving permission, my legal authorized representative changes their mind?

At any time, the legally authorized representative can withdraw the consent for donated tissue and the associated anonymous information. To do this they call CENC Neuropathology Core office at (857) 364-5694, and then fill out a form.

Whom may I contact if I have any further questions?
For non-urgent matters:

     - Call the CENC Brain Donation Team at the toll-free number: (857) 364-5694
     - Or you can email staff at (

The after-hours/urgent number is: (617) 276-6023.