Brain Bank opens to bring more research and treatment to CTE, Alzheimer's patients


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    This week Brain Awareness Week is a nationwide effort to promote the public and personal benefits of brain research, and there is a brand new facility opening in San Antonio to help protect the most important part of your body.

    Whether it's professional and amatuer athletes, or military workers, or even anyone who's been in a car accident many of us have the potential to suffer a brain injury and as we speak one doctor is on the phone collecting brains and says you might need to take a look under the hood.

    Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE, causes the brain cells to die as a result of head trauma.

    And now Dr. Kevin Bieniek with the Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases, part of UT Health San Antonio, is starting a brain bank, to answer one question at the crossroads of collisions.

    "For every person that becomes a professional athlete, there are thousands of kids playing at the high school level or collegiate who don't go on to be a pro sports player." Bieniek said.

    And the brain bank aims to target research towards protecting people who may be at an early risk.

    "We collect autopsied brains from individuals who were seen in the clinic who wanted to be a part of research to study the pathology of their brains.” Said Bieniek, “So we kind of put together a progression of the disease and look at different stages of development of the disorders and also therapeutic windows."

    A research that is already starting to show results.

    "What we've found is that playing high school football doesn't strongly associate with CTE, I think it's post high school exposure in a lot of these sports where you really develop a lot of concussions." Bieniek said.

    This research has carry over into Alzheimer’s treatments, but the research depends on people donating their brains in a similar process to being an organ donor. You can contact the Biggs Institute to become a donor by calling 210-450-9960.

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