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Updated: January 20, 2010 18:08 IST

NIMHANS keen to study Jyoti Basu’s brain

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The NIMHANS institute is keen to find how Jyoti Basu's brain was alert even at the age of 95
The NIMHANS institute is keen to find how Jyoti Basu's brain was alert even at the age of 95

Impressed by his mental agility even at an advanced age, the premier National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences wants to study late CPI(M) patriarch Jyoti Basu’s brain to find out whether there was any special reason for his alertness.

Director of Bangalore-based NIMHANS D. Nagaraja said that his institute was planning to write to the SSKM Medical College in Kolkata, seeking to know whether Basu’s brain can be handed over for research purposes.

“Basu had donated his body for medical research. Based on that, we want the SSKM Medical College to hand over the brain to us,” he said.

The neuro-pathology department of NIMHANS will write a letter to SSKM in this regard, he said. Basu’s body was handed over to SSKM authorities on Tuesday.

According to Mr. Nagaraja, there are numerous age-related changes in a human brain, and some brains are more alert than others.

“There are some factors which prevent the fast ageing of a brain. We want to look into that.”

NIMHANS has a brain bank with around 300 human specimens.

Nagaraj said that mental health doctors were “curious” over the fact that Basu, who passed away on Sunday at the age of 95, was mentally so agile even at that age.

The NIMHANS director said that the institute’s brain bank had carried out numerous studies in the past and some of the findings include less prevalence of dementia among the elderly population of India, as compared to the West, and certain genes which prevent the onset of Parkinson’s disease.

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