About the Base
According to Professor Zhou Jiangning, an initiator of the base and vice-president of the Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University, the human brain base has collected 40 brain specimens and set up a 200-square-meter standard brain base operation room which can provide Chinese and foreign medical experts with brain tissues for curing difficult and complicated diseases and scientific study.
Zhou said that the China Human Brain Base mainly collects brains that are donated by persons after death, stores them in specially made iceboxes and takes them out when needed. Meanwhile, relevant archives on medical history of the patients were set up, including the diseases they had contracted, drugs they had taken and whether they smoked or indulged in wine.
Medical Study Enters a New Stage
The establishment of the brain base marks a new stage in the exploration of brain science and physiological and pathological study on brains by the human beings and brings hopes to the patients who suffer from cerebrosis incurable by ordinary methods, he said.
So far, there have been over 20 human brain bases in the world, most of which are sited in the United States, Japan, Canada and the Netherlands.
Without a human brain base of their own in past time, Chinese medical experts had to carry out scientific study on the brain tissues provided by foreign brain bases. However, the differences between human brains of the Chinese and those of the Europeans and Americans did bring obstacles to brain medical study in China.
Further Development Depends on
--Change of Traditional Concepts
Zhou said that the normal operation of the base relies on the change of traditional concepts and perfection of laws and regulations. The establishment of the brain base depends on the obtainment of brain tissues. Brain tissues available in China presently are acquired on the basis of organ donation.
China's centuries-old funeral and burial customs and the deep-rooted traditional concepts of preserving complete bodies, plus the fact that many people lack sufficient understanding of the importance of remains donation and organ transplant and the sense of donating remains have, to a great extent, hindered the development of brain bases in China.
--Perfection of Related Laws and Regulations
Even if a small number of persons are willing to donate their brains after death, they have to go through many complicated procedures of certification. For this reason, Zhou called on the country to set up related laws and regulations such as "Organ Donation Law" and "Brain Death Law" as soon as possible so as to protect the lawful rights of donators and provide a legal basis for the work of the brain base.
(People's Daily January 8, 2002)