Researchers found that for recruiting prospective donors for the Netherlands Brain Bank for Psychiatry, a personal approach is more effective than an approach by post. Strikingly more people registered as brain donor when they were approached individually and face to face. Surprisingly, there were differences between the patient groups. Patients with bipolar disorder and their relatives registered most: around 25% (n=451). The results of the study were recently published in BMC Psychiatry.

A face to face approach was 1.3 times more effective than a postal approach and the likelihood of brain donor registration significantly increased with age. Gender did not make a difference.

The use of human brain tissue is the main strategy to study the molecular and cellular basis of psychiatric disorders. However, the current availability is far from sufficient. Therefore, the Netherlands Brain Bank (NBB) initiated the first worldwide prospective donor program (NBB-Psy) for seven psychiatric disorders: schizophrenia and other psychotic related diagnoses , bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The aim is to establish a brain tissue resource of these disorders and to make this resource available to the national and international research community. NBB-Psy cooperates with research groups of five Dutch universities (Brain Center Rudolf Magnus University Medical Center Utrecht, Radboud University Medical Center Nijmegen, Academic Medical Center Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit Medical Center Amsterdam, Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam) who have several large and clinically characterized cohorts of psychiatric patients. The project is widely supported by patient-and family associations and mental health clinics.

The NBB-Psy program resulted in a steep increase in the number of registered prospective brain donors with psychiatric diagnoses. Mid 2017, 1405 donors with a psychiatric diagnosis are registered with the NBB, compared to 300 on December 31, 2012.