Alcohol-related disorders of the nervous system are major public health and socio-economic problems throughout the world. Per capita consumption of alcohol in Australia is extremely high and, as a result alcohol related brain damage is common. The New South Wales Tissue Resource Center (TRC) at the University of Sydney has established itself as a useful resource for the facilitation of research into alcohol-related brain damage and associated conditions.
The aim of this important and innovative facility is to provide fresh-frozen and formalin fixed tissue to research groups worldwide who are investigating these disorders. In addition, the TRC takes a leading role in the area of brain banking by developing standardized protocols, undertaking enhanced clinical characterization of cases, building better information systems management and by training staff. We have endeavoured to ensure the future viability of the TRC by developing a donor program called Using our Brains (donors sign up during life) that will expand our current collection procedures and provide more valuable, longitudinally characterized tissue for research studies. The donors have full life- style, medical histories and brain function documented. With this comes a social and ethical responsibility to ensure that the greatest benefit is obtained from the tissues donated. Brain banking is a long-term proposition and maximum benefits will be seen as case numbers increase. Using the same case material and applying different scientific techniques, research groups can generate data that can be related to pre-mortem clinical, laboratory and radiological information. We believe this is achieved by providing a bank that can be accessed by a diverse range of researchers. Funding is sought to further develop this important resource for international researchers with an interest in alcohol related brain damage.

Public Health Relevance

Alcohol-related disorders of the nervous system are major public health and socio-economic problems throughout the world. A brain bank is a facilitator for research groups to study and find solutions for these disorders.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Resource-Related Research Projects (R24)
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Behavioral Genetics and Epidemiology Study Section (BGES)
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Reilly, Matthew
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University of Sydney
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