Want to Check out Einstein’s Brain?

Today there’s an app for almost anything– even an app to check out microscopic pictures of Einstein’s brain.  The Chicago branch of The National Museum of Health and Medicine created the app, Einstein Brain Atlas, and you can purchase it on iTunes for $9.99.

How is it we even have pictures of Einstein’s brain?

Well, a pathologist, Dr. Thomas Harvey, thought they might be useful one day, I suppose.

Dr. Thomas Harvey harvested Einstein’s brain shortly after his death in 1955.  There is controversy surrounding how he got Einstein’s brain and if he had permission to obtain it.  However, it has been said that Einstein wanted his brain donated to science and researched. Most of his brain now remains at the University Medical Center in Princeton and, in 2011, 46 slivers of Einstein’s brain went on display at the Mütter Museum and Historical Medical Library in Philadelphia. (I gathered this information from huffingtonpost.com. Click here to read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/05/einsteins-brain-well-connected-hemispheres_n_4045095.html (check out the slideshow about Einstein’s brain too!).

Even though Einstein is considered a genius, he isn’t the only one to have his brain harvested and researched.  UC Irvine has collected 210 brains for their 90+ study.  It seems the donated brains may give researchers insight into longevity and healthy living. Here’s what reporter, Lori Basheda, of the Orange County Register, wrote about the 90+ study:

“More than 4 million people in this country have dementia. The number of people in the dementia-ripe age range (90 and older) will quadruple by 2050, according to National Institute of Health projections.

And right now there is no consensus about what causes Alzheimer’s disease, the leading cause of dementia, let alone a cure or sure-fire prevention.

In a nutshell: One camp of researchers believes that a buildup of protein plaques in the brain causes Alzheimer’s. Another camp believes that protein tangles are to blame. And there are outlying researchers who don’t agree with either theory, saying the explanation is more complicated.

Kawas’ collection of brains lends credence to the latter conclusion. Forty percent of the people in the study who displayed no signs of dementia in life had post-mortem brains that were riddled with plaques and/or tangles.” Published: Oct. 11, 2013 Updated: Oct. 13, 2013 6:29 p.m. To read the whole article click here: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/kawas-530623-study-brains.html

Alzheimer’s disease is so complex and puzzling.

Thank you to those who are donating their brains to help others– a true gift to future generations!


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