BRACE has guaranteed the future of one of the UK’s most important ‘Brain Banks’ with a donation of £281,000.

The South West Dementia Brain Bank, based at Southmead Hospital, houses more than 1,000 human brains and plays a vital role in the hunt for a cure for dementia.

The hi-tech facility costs a great deal of money and the donation from BRACE will cover essential running costs, including key post salaries, for two years from November.

We have an urgent need for more research into dementia, and comparison of brain tissue from people who have had dementia with that from people who have not is a crucial way for us to find out why different types of dementia occur, how they differ and how they progress.

Almost all major advances in our understanding and treatment of dementia have been based on research on human brain tissue. Examining post-mortem brain tissue is also vital for obtaining an accurate diagnosis. It is common for this examination to show that the actual illness responsible for the dementia was different from that diagnosed during life.

The tissue can be used over decades, and supports research in South West England, the rest of the UK and internationally.

BRACE Chief Executive Mark Poarch said supporting the Brain Bank was one of the core objectives of the charity.

He said: “This truly is a world-leading resource and without it we would be much further from finding successful treatments for dementia.

“I would encourage anyone who has an interest in helping us win the fight against dementia to support BRACE and the Brain Bank. It is only through science that we will bring an end to this illness.

“I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has made it possible to fund this latest grant – together we will defeat dementia.”

Donations to the Brain Bank come from people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, as well as older people without any memory problems.

The tissue is frozen or fixed, so it can be stored long-term, and a wealth of information relating to pathology is collected and made available for research.