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Neurology - Neuromuscular

Houston, Texas

The Cullen Building at Baylor College of Medicine.
Department of Neurology
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Donation of Tissue for Research

Consider giving the most precious gift. In recent years, researchers have learned a great deal about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a fatal neuromuscular disorder—but there is still much more to discover. At this time, we still don't know what causes ALS or how the disease is triggered. Investigators are searching for the answers to these and many other puzzling questions about ALS in their efforts to find effective treatments and ways to prevent the disease.

Because ALS is a disease of the motor neurons located in the brain and spinal cord, it is difficult to access this tissue in people living with ALS. Researchers often use donated postmortem tissue to study ALS. However, there is a scarcity of ALS brain and spinal cord tissue for research studies. Tissue from people living with ALS is a critical resource for researchers. When ALS tissue and complete information about the donor's ALS history are compared, researchers are able to piece together information that will eventually provide answers. Researchers compare ALS tissue with non-diseased tissue. They compare the tissue of people diagnosed with ALS with different histories, including variances in their age of onset and time of diagnosis, disease progression, care and treatment.

Persons with ALS and their families realize the importance of research into the cause of ALS because understanding the cause of the disease may offer the best opportunity for finding and producing effective therapies to treat and/or prevent ALS in the future. Many people have already played a key role in advancing the knowledge about ALS by providing blood samples, muscle biopsies and other specimens.

For some people, the decision or commitment to donate tissue upon their death may be difficult, especially when coping with the day to day challenges of ALS. However, many find that committing to be a tissue donor provides them with a sense of purpose or comfort in knowing that the donation will contribute to the quest for knowledge about ALS.

People living with ALS who chose to donate tissue need to plan ahead since there are few medical centers prepared to perform the tissue donation procedure effectively. If you are considering tissue donation, please contact our office at 713-798-5694 and we can answer your questions and assist you with the planning process.

A lasting legacy can be the donation of brain and spinal cord tissue for ALS research.

Yadollah Harati, M.D.
Medical Director
ALS Clinic at Baylor College of Medicine
Certified Center of the ALS Association
6550 Fannin, Suite 1801
Houston, Texas 77030
Tel: 713-798-7411
Fax: 713-798-8573

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