First-ever Australian Veterans’ Brain Bank announced in NSW

25 January 2023

A new research initiative will use the brains of late veterans to help with diagnosis and treatment of brain disease in a first for Australia.

A NSW Government initiative, the Australian Veterans’ Brain Bank is a collaboration between the National Centre for Veterans’ Healthcare and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital’s Neuropathology Department based at Concord Hospital in Sydney’s inner west.

It will focus on understanding the long-term effects on the brain for soldiers who have been exposed to multiple blast injuries and other head knocks throughout their careers. This includes IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) and artillery or rockets, together with other areas such as training and participation in sporting activities.

The NSW Health Minister said the Brain Bank will be able to provide more accurate diagnoses for loved ones of late veterans who have pledged their brains to research and improve the diagnosis and treatment of brain disease during life.

Learning about the impacts of brain trauma and injury will increase awareness of the potential impacts of blast injuries. It will also be invaluable for healthcare workers when supporting veterans in the future.

Veteran Damien Thomlinson is one of the first Australian veterans to pledge his brain to the Australian Veterans’ Brain Bank. He was severely injured in Afghanistan through a blast injury after serving for eight years in the Australian Special Forces.

“[I’m happy] to donate my brain so that we can see what the impact of being so close to a large explosion is. And hopefully we can connect the dots in the future and make sure that other people are prepared for the damage that may be caused and we can also isolate ways to treat and prevent injury moving forward,” he said.

For more information or to register for brain donation, please visit Veterans’ Brain Bank


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