Research and Education

Transforming Brain Science

We are a company that facilitates medical breakthroughs through the exploration of the human body. Our company is able to conduct this work through the charitable donations of hundreds of donors each year, whose anatomical gifts provide scientists and physicians with the resources necessary to advance medical science.

Our company connects donors to qualified research and education institutions for the purpose of advancing the design of medical implants, therapies and surgical technologies. Our ongoing commitment to advancing the progress of medical science represents the core of our company values. 

In line with our driving philosophy, we have partnered with a brain banking organization who has pioneered new technology for the preparation, preservation, and cataloging of brain samples for research and education. Our team will be delivering revolutionary insights into the human brain.

A History of Brain Banking

The brain is a mysterious organ. It holds many secrets, and its study is the key to effectively treating and potentially reversing the effects of conditions such as depression, degenerative brain disease, cerebrovascular accidents and memory loss. Our team of medical professionals have pioneered award-winning methods for the preservation of the brain. Our goal is to create revolutionary new models of study, using brain preservation that capture the nano-scale structures needed to unlock the brain’s deepest secrets. 

Brain banking is the preservation of the human brain after death, for the purposes of research or education. Traditional brain banking can only provide a macro-level understanding of the brain’s regions, internal structures, and neural pathways. This is due to the use of rudimentary methods like immersion fixation and standard cryopreservation. The significant delays and damage inherent in these approaches mean that critical details are lost and structures destroyed. This leaves many of the brain’s secrets waiting to be discovered.

According to the United Nations, more than one out of every six people across the world suffer from neurological disorders. In order to catalyze the advancement of brain science, researchers and educators need high-fidelity brain samples, preserved in a way that captures each of the billions of individual neurons and trillions of synapses in the human brain. These samples will offer scientists the level of detail they must have to combat the relentless progression of degenerative brain disease faced by human beings worldwide

This scan demonstrates the complexity of the brain. Memories are theorized to be encoded in these synaptic nano-structures. Further reading: Sebastian Seung and Jeff Lichtman

A Better Way Forward


We seek to understand how long-term memories are physically created, and how those physical traces might be preserved. Our goal is to enable truly revolutionary advances in the way our society relates to and engages with memory, including how we experience history, how we preserve the languages, cultures, and wisdom of the past, and how health care engages with the memories and personal narratives of patients.

We introduce aldehyde-stabilized cryopreservation (ASC), a brain banking technique for preserving the brain’s nano-structure over indefinite time scales. Our approach uses glutaraldehyde to rapidly stabilize the brain’s synaptic structure. The necessary cryoprotectants are delivered via perfusion, enabling preservation of brains of any size.

The way that scientists preserve the brain for research has not changed since the 1950s. Better brain banking technology is very valuable to medicine, it helps us better understand diseases of the brain in ways that were never thought possible.

Our project aims to preserve the detailed synaptic structure of the brain, using techniques which have won the Brain Preservation Foundation’s Small and Large Mammal Brain Preservation prizes. Our project has already produced one of the fastest known preservations of a human brain in 2018 and 2020, and we hope to achieve the first complete synaptic-level preservation of a whole human brain in 2021. Pre-registration is required for brain preservation.

This comparison of brain tissue between a healthy individual and an Alzheimer’s disease patient, demonstrating the extent of neuronal death. Further reading: National Institute on Aging

Our Commitment to Science

We are catalyzing the advancement of brain science. To accomplish this, we are utilizing new technology to enable brain preservation in the critical first few minutes after death. Rapid preservation after death is critical. Brain tissue is largely composed of neurons, which are the cells that send and receive information throughout the brain. Neurons have the most urgent oxygen requirements of all the body’s tissue types. They begin to deteriorate rapidly without oxygen, as soon as six minutes after death. A similar process happens during a stroke, when a blood vessel that carries oxygen to the brain is blocked by a blood clot. Once oxygen stops, the brain cells begin to die, and the information that makes memories is irreversibly lost. This is sometimes referred to as “information-theoretic death.”

In order for scientists to advance our knowledge of brain diseases, high-fidelity samples of the brain must be produced. Our advanced preservation techniques mean that we can capture all of the brain’s synaptic information on the nano-scale, allowing scientists to peer into the mysteries of the brain like never before. The resulting collection of high-fidelity samples — of both healthy and diseased brains — can be housed in a brain bank for access by researchers and educators across the country. This comprehensive comparison of high-fidelity samples is what will lead to a renewed understanding of the brain, and new scientific protocols to cure disease. That is why your commitment to donate is so important, all brains are essential to the advancement of brain science.

This comparison of brain tissue preserved using immersion fixation (left) and ASC (right), demonstrating the superiority of ASC. Further reading: Robert McIntyre and Kenneth Hayworth

Help Us Advance Brain Science

The key to brain preservation is rapid preservation after death. For donors and their families, this process poses evident challenges for loved ones and caregivers. Donors must be altruistic individuals with a passion for advancing the progress of medical science. Through our project, anatomical donors are able to have a positive impact on the health and wellness of future generations, leaving a legacy that lasts forever. 

We encourage donors and their families who are passionate about science and want to be part of the “final frontier” in brain research to register for brain preservation. Individuals who register for brain preservation will need to complete a donor history assessment to ensure the efficacy and lasting impact of their anatomical gift. Prospective donors who do not meet the criteria for brain preservation may choose to have their donation used for research and education.

When an individual approaches their final day of life, the hospice provider, next of kin or appropriate legal parties must notify Aeternitas Life. Please contact us at least 24 to 72 hours before death at 844-330-7040. We will make all arrangements for our team to arrive and standby near the place of death at no expense to the family. In the event of a sudden death, where advance notice cannot be provided, brain preservation may not be possible. Our company can provide bereavement resources for grieving and closure, including a viewing or memorial as soon as 48 hours after the brain preservation is completed.


Questions?

Request our free brochure! Learn about the benefits of donating with Aeternitas Life, and how we can help your family, funeral home or hospice. We’re here to help 24 hours a day at 844-330-7040.