Tuesday , March 21 2023

Fighting in the brain: a war between US universities


In 2011, the magazine was accepted by Adam Voorhes, an American photographer Scientific American Take photos of the brain at the Animal Resource Center at New York University of Texas.

The task has led to extraordinary discoveries. A neutral scientist who showed him the brain he was supposed to take took him to a small room where cleaning products were used, and there he discovered his hidden wealth at the wall: almost 100 old flask with the brain.

Vorche recruited this image and interest in the origin of this brain, which was so rare that his friend, journalist Alex Hannafort, investigated the origin of this extraordinary collection.

That's why it was discovered that these flasks, which are now forgotten and ignored, were once the grand prize challenged by the best universities in the country.

This happened in 1987 and in the newspaper Houston Chronicle He called it "brain warfare".

Where was the collection? and why it was considered so valuable?

This is what Woores and Hannaford were about to explore after publishing their findings after several years "Developed" book.


Hannaford discovered that the collection was created by a doctor: Coleman de Chenar, who was a pathologist at the Austin Hospital in the 1980's to the mid-1980s.

The hospital was formerly known as the Texas National Asylum Seeker and the brain that De Chenar owned. the patients to whom he had an autopsy.

Hannafords told the BBC Mundo that it's not known whether patients volunteered to donate the brain or if others were taking decisions.

The truth is that the De Chenar collection came to accumulate samples of all kinds of mental illness, many of which originated severe deformation in the brain.

For this reason, the collection looks so weird. And it also makes it so unusual: some of the disorders registered are now being effectively treated.

For instance, several examples of hydrocephalus, accumulation of brain fluid that causes serious problems and makes the appearance of these organs swollen or distorted.

Today, excess fluid is drained through a tube that is surgically placed.

The collection also includes one of the most extreme cases registered, which causes the brain to have an unusually smooth appearance without the characteristic grooves and folds.

Usually the problem affects the part of the brain, but this collection is one that is completely smooth.


All this explains why in 1987, when the Austin State Hospital decided to donate a collection, country's main higher education institutions They are trying to get it.

Note Houston Chronicle It gives an overview of the "battle" and explains that the state's main medical education institutions wanted the stock of its value to be used as a research tool.

"Have got so much information available in these brain tissues "Many researchers are daunting them," said Dr. Edward D. Bird, associate professor of neuropathology at the Hawward Medical School.

After all, the winner was the University of Texas who obtained it thanks to its historic link with the Austin State Hospital, where its medical students practiced.

But the truth is that after a rigorous disagreement the collection was eventually forgotten.

Voorh told BBC Mundo that he and Hannaford were trying to find out more about what had happened.

They noticed it most jars had labels They contained three data: reference number, patient status (Latin archive), and date of death.

They tried to find relevant documents with this entry, but, given their great disappointment, they never found them.

The university told them they were in the hospital and the hospital said otherwise.


But what they can find out the collection the original was twice as large: about 200 brains together.

And many of the missing organs were from patients with schizophrenia

In fact, a large proportion of this disease was another factor that made the collection so much sought after.

What happened to the missing brain? Nobody knows Like the record, both guilty themselves.

But the history of the collection is happy. Thanks to the interests of the book "Wrong," the University of Texas decided to re-evaluate its sample.

He founded his new medical school magnetic resonance of the whole brain to maintain its value as a research tool.

And, according to the author, recent discoveries from other brain collections, which have been around for decades, show that this collection, which went from star to passing, could still shine.

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