CADRC Brain Donation FAQ

The brain donation decision is typically a process that takes careful consideration on the part of individuals with dementia and their families, in collaboration with their care providers. The CADRC accepts direct brain donations from individuals who were already enrolled in the CADRC. Please contact the CADRC staff if you have questions about CADRC enrollment and/or brain donation.

Family Experiences with Brain Donation

Brian Appleby, MD interviews family members of an individual whose brain was donated after they passed away.

Brian Appleby, MD interviews Clarence and Vicki about their experience with donating their daughter’s brain to the Prion Center.

Frequently Asked Questions
About Brain Donation

My loved one has passed, who do I contact?

If your loved one is registered for autopsy through the CADRC Clinical Core, please call the autopsy coordinators at 216-368-0587 to report the passing of the participant. We will contact you back directly to go over the process and any other information as needed. Please be sure to let the telephone operator know that this is a CADRC autopsy.

Does COVID-19 status affect the brain donation process?

No. The process for brain donation is the same because the same precautions are used for all brain donations regardless of whether the person tested positive for COVID-19 or not.

Where will the autopsy take place?

If the CADRC participant is located in Ohio, then the autopsy procedure will take place at the University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center Campus, in Cleveland, Ohio. If the participant is not in Ohio, then we will utilize our network of providers to secure a location for the autopsy that is as close to the participant’s location as possible. In the event that an out-of-town provider must be used, the Neuropathology Core (NPC) will make all of the transportation arrangements and cover costs if necessary, and will work to complete the entire process as soon as possible. The NPC will keep you posted if delays are expected so that you can adjust your plans accordingly.

How long does the autopsy take?

The NPC will make every effort to have the procedure completed within a day. However, weekends and holidays can slow the process down. The autopsy procedure itself will take approximately 1 hour to complete.

What are the costs for the autopsy?

The autopsy will be provided free of charge, including transportation if necessary. Please note that the CADRC cannot cover funeral or embalming charges.

Is the body returned to the family/funeral home after the autopsy?

 After the autopsy is complete, the body will be returned to the funeral home and the family can proceed with their funeral preparations. 

How will I be notified of results?

Your Clinical Core physician will reach out to you when the results are ready.

For more general information about brain donations, please see

Brain Donation: What We Learn and How It Can Help You and Your Family

A video webinar from New York University Alzheimer’s Disease Center about the importance of brain donation.