National PTSD Brain Bank Partners with Pink Concussions to encourage women to take the PINK Concussions’ Pledge #PINKBrainPledge
Given the numbers of civilians and veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury TBI and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD, it is essential to increase our scientific knowledge of both conditions through the research of post-mortem brain tissue.
And we must look at both male and female brains.
Why do we need research on post-mortem brain tissue?
There are limits to the research that can be done on the brain of a living person; and thus it is essential to have people who want to a part of research pledge to donate their brains.
Post-mortem brain research is very important to developing better diagnoses, evidence-based treatment and prevention strategies for both Traumatic Brain Injury TBI and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD.
Why are female brains needed?
Donation of female brains is necessary for medical and scientific research to compare to what we already know about male brains.
In the past, the focus of TBI and PTSD brain research has been primarily based on men, without recruitment of women to pledge their brains, thus resulting in very little and postmortem research on the brains of females. While there is postmortem brain tissue available for the study of brain injury in men, there is almost none for women.
Also, as far as the history of published research on Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in women, there have only been two peer-reviewed journal articles published, both in the early 1990s, addressing female CTE – one case of an autistic young woman and the “Case of the Punch-Drunk Wife,” about a woman with a history of domestic violence. Both of these women’s brains were examined only by chance, as autism is rare in women, and the corpse of the battered wife had “cauliflower ears,” which interested scientists already engaged in a research study of the brains of boxers.
The PINK Concussions #PINKBrainPledge is the first initative to recruit female veterans - as well as active-duty and civilian women - to enroll in TBI and PTSD research.
When did the #PINKBrainPledge start?
On December 18, 2017, the National PTSD Brain Bank announced they will be partnering with PINK Concussions to actively recruit women over the age of 18 to pledge to donate their brains to participate in research about TBI and/or PTSD.
What is PTSD?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD is a mental disorder that can occur from exposure to direct or indirect threat of death, serious injury, or physical violence, including sexual violence. Events such as combat and sexual assault or rape are especially likely to lead to PTSD. Patients with PTSD may also have brain injuries.
What is TBI?
A Traumatic Brain Injury TBI can occur from direct contact to the head, or when the brain is shaken within the skull, such as from a blast or whiplash during a car accident. Patients with brain injuries may also have PTSD, which could have occurred before, after or during their head injury.
What if I am already an organ donor?
If you pledged to donate your organ on your driver's licence, this pledge does not cover the brain. Brain donation is a separate process. You can do both types of donations.
Women (over the age of 18) who are eligible for this study are:
- Women with a history of TBI only
- Women with a history of PTSD only
- Women with both TBI and PTSD
- Women without TBI or PTSD*
To further this field of science, it is critically important to conduct research on brain tissue exposed to TBI and PTSD, as well as brains without this history to serve as controls.
• *Women without TBI or PTSD are also eligible to participate as “control subjects" in the National PTSD Brain Bank, because it is also important to study women without PTSD/TBI to learn about the impacts of stress, trauma and PTSD on brain tissue. Since PTSD can be associated with other psychiatric disorders, National PTSD Brain Bank also seeks women donors with no psychiatric disorders as well as those with depression, substance use disorders, other psychiatric disorders and TBI who do not suffer from PTSD.