Brain Bank

Yale University – New Haven, Connecticut

What causes essential tremor is currently a question with no known answer. Brain donations (also called postmortem examination or autopsy) are the only way to find the answers to this question. With these answers, better treatments can be developed and a cure can be found.

Medical researchers at Yale University, with the help of the IETF, maintain a centralized brain bank to serve the ET community. This will enable doctors to begin to actively study what happens in the brains of people with ET. Unfortunately, there is a severe shortage of brain tissue donations from people who had ET during life.

Eligible donors will have been diagnosed with essential tremor by a physician, they would not have any other neurological diagnoses (eg. Dystonia, torticollis, Parkinson’s disease), would be ages 70 and older, and had not had Deep Brain Stimulation surgery or any other surgical intervention to treat their tremor.

If you are interested in helping find the causes of ET and want to leave a medical legacy for future generations, please call 203.785.5301 or email, and you will be sent an information packet on brain donation. Or for more information, visit

Brain Donor Project

The Brain Donor Project aims to increase the supply of human post-mortem brains donated for scientific research. Our goal is to simplify the process of brain donation and increase public awareness of the need for this most precious resource. The Brain Donor Project supports the NeuroBioBank of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). All inquiries will be answered within 10 business days. Learn more.

The Brain Observatory – San Diego, California

The Brain Observatory’s brain bank in San Diego, California is now accepting brain donations from patients who have been diagnosed with Essential Tremor (ET). The effort is part of the institute’s Digital Brain Library project, a web-accessible digital archive of neurological data that will be open to worldwide collaboration. Potential brain donors may also participate in active ET research. By combining modern neuroimaging techniques and detailed behavioral testing with the eventual examination of the brain, researchers aim at obtaining a new and more comprehensive picture of ET.

Note: The program is currently enrolling only residents of San Diego county; however, potential participants from other areas will be signed into a registry that may be the basis for future larger studies.

Please contact Mrs. Ruth Klaming for more information about brain donation or research participation. For more details on the Digital Brain Library, visit their website.

The Douglas Bell Canada Brain Bank

The Douglas-Bell Canada Brain Bank (DBCBB) is based at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute (McGill University affiliate). Founded in 1980, it currently houses and manages over 3,000 brains, as well as a large relational database containing demographic, clinical and developmental histories from the donors. The DBCBB is one of the few brain banks in North America to collect brains from people who suffered from different neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Essential Tremor, Alzheimer’s disease, and other dementias.

The DBCBB is internationally recognized, and thus receives tissue requests from a large number of neuroscientists from Canada and abroad. Requests for tissues come from leading international laboratories focusing on neurobiological processes as diverse as the normal expression of brain genes, histological changes associated with brain aneurysms, epigenetics processes associated with chronic cocaine use, and the neurobiological consequences of early-life adversity, to name just a few. More than 1,000 brain samples are prepared and sent to researchers each year.

To learn more about opportunities, visit their website.