Alzheimer’s Researchers Study a Rare Brain
While they waited for Aliria’s physique to reach, Dr. Villegas and the workers messaged one another calls for: freezers checked, sterile gloves, iodine, cell tradition medium, tissue preservative blended and prepared. The mind financial institution typically sends tissue to its collaborators overseas, and inside days samples of Aliria’s mind could be beneath examine in Germany and California, in addition to Medellín.
Each mind donation begins not in a hospital mortuary however in a big and well-equipped funeral residence. The association permits the researchers to take away the mind and stroll it shortly to their dissection lab a block away, after which the household can proceed with a funeral or cremation.
Aliria’s post-mortem began at 11:30 a.m., three hours after her loss of life. Dr. Villegas’s senior crew members, Dr. Aguillon and Johana Gómez, a biologist, suited up in plastic overalls, masks and face shields, precautions made needed by the pandemic, whereas a medical scholar, Carlos Rueda, stood by taking notes.
The crew eliminated the mind with relative ease, though the method is at all times intricate, with connective tissue that should be rigorously severed. Dr. Villegas then extracted from deeper within the cranium the pituitary gland and olfactory membrane, constructions of curiosity to Alzheimer’s researchers. The group took samples of pores and skin, tumor and important organs, earlier than leaving the stays of their well-known affected person, one on whom so many analysis hopes have been pinned, to be cremated.
Within minutes the group converged once more down the road on the mind financial institution’s dissection lab, a room no larger than a walk-in closet. It was almost 1 p.m., and Dr. Aguillon positioned Aliria’s mind on a scale. It weighed 894 grams, just below two kilos — significantly lower than a wholesome mind. Mr. Rueda started photographing it on a rotating platform used to create a three-dimensional picture, whereas Dr. Villegas narrated and Dr. Aguillon typed.