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Brain Autopsy Service

Pathology at UCSF Medical Center offers a Brain Autopsy Service for patients who were treated by the UCSF Memory and Aging Center and who were participants in ongoing research projects.

Often, memory disorders are complicated conditions that are hard to diagnosis and that have no known cause. Autopsy findings can provide a more complete understanding of a patients disease — information that is invaluable to both a patient's family and memory disorder researchers.

Through an autopsy, the effects of a neurodegenerative disease on the brain can be studied in detail and evaluated visually. Many neurodegenerative diseases — such as Alzheimers disease, frontotemporal dementia and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease — can be diagnosed only after an autopsy, which helps bring closure for family members.

In addition, the scientific information obtained through postmortem examination may assist researchers in developing new treatments.

Please note that an autopsy consent form must be signed by the next-of-kin before the procedure can begin.

Postmortem examination will not delay or complicate a funeral, cremation or burial plans. Removal of the brain does not prevent an open casket or other traditional funeral arrangements as the incision will not be visible.

More Information

For more information on the Brain Autopsy Service, contact the autopsy coordinator in the UCSF Memory and Aging Center at (415) 476-1681.

See information about research at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center.