The Neural Archives Foundation (NAF) is an Australian non-profit organisation which preserves neural (brain) tissue as an historical archive and supports research into brain and neural disease states.
The NAF is a registered charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) and is endorsed as a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) with the Australian Tax Office (ATO) from 23 February 2018.
The donor tissue is stored in cryogenic tissue banking facilities at liquid nitrogen temperatures with the goal being to preserve as much as possible the information content of the brain that includes identity and memory which is encoded by the vast interconnected network of cellular processes that comprise the human cerebral cortex.
The technology to read and decode this information is currently only in its infancy, however, at some point in the future, whole brain simulations will be able to model the connections of the stored tissue allowing the information to be accessed. This will then become a slice of human history as seen through the eyes of an individual alive now.
In the regard of storing brain tissue we are similar to the Australian Brain Bank, however, whereas the ABB stores brain tissue for the purpose of medical research and to understand and develop treatments for disease, NAF store the tissue purely as a repository of the information that is contained therein. If you would like to learn more about the valuable work of the ABB or how to be involved in their program, please click here.
NAF encourage people interested in neural archiving to consider donating other organs which are always in short supply.
To improve the veracity of our storage we also monitor and support research in the following areas:
The principal objectives of the organisation are:
NAF will be funding research with various universities related to the mechanisms involved with storage of memories and related spheres of interest, in various animal models as well as humans.
A list of useful downloadable documents in PDF format.
Anatomy Donation Form - for use with Australian Medical Schools. If, in addition to preserving your neural tissue with NAF, you also wish to donate your body to a medical school for the teaching of anatomy to medical students, then you will need to fill out this form and return it to us and we will liaise with the appropriate medical school to ensure that all your wishes are carried out.Generic Anatomy Donor Consent Form
The NAF accepts donations to cover the costs of neural tissue storage as well as for research purposes. Research is conducted into areas that help NAF improve it's procedures for preserving the information in neural tissue. As well as low temperature (cryogenic) storage, NAF will be investigating the viability of less expensive storage options such as chemical fixation and plastination.
The NAF will also be conducting research or supporting research projects which explore ways of preventing or slowing down degenerative or damaging brain and neural diseases.
Research proceeds when sufficient funds have accumulated for specific projects.
Please contact us if you wish to make an electronic donation either via Bitcoin or some other cryptocurrency or via EFT if you are in Australia. Currently we can accept these coins:
Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
Bitcoin Gold (BTG)
Ethereum Classic (ETC)
If preferred, cheques can be made out to:
Neural Archives Foundation Ltd (ABN: 67 465 438 378)
PO BOX 896
Anyone is eligible. There is no such thing as a mundane mind. In order for the tissue to be collected however there are various requirements that must be met under Australian and State law as there are for all tissue donation.
The cryogenic storage costs vary according to country and region, however NAF sets the cost according to best practice, quality and security costs in Australia. We ask for a one-off cash donation at time of death. The minimum donation required to cover our costs is presently AUS$30,000 which is enough to store the tissue indefinitely. There are some additional costs (usually totalling less than AUS$4,000) for associated services related to the actual neural tissue extraction and processing. These are not a donation and we invoice the estate or the nominating party for these amounts.
The tissues are stored with high-quality, medical grade, cryogenic storage organisations in Australia. For security and privacy reasons we do not identify which tissues are stored with which organisations but reports from the Independent Organisation that audits us are available on request. To be clear, we can not release the name of any of our service providers without the expressed permission of that service provider. This specifically includes, pathologists, cryogenic couriers, consultants, storage facility providers, advisors, mortuary attendants, care facilities. Furthermore, we never seek such permission unless specifically requested by the service provider themselves in the performance of their function. For example, a cryogenic courier must know the name of the storage facility the tissue is to be sent to. We can not unilaterally release the name of service providers we use lest there be adverse primary or even secondary publicity to those service providers and which may therefrom adversely affect our use of that storage provider in future and jeopardize tissues already stored there. If there is a question of integrity then NAF is happy to submit to an independent audit so long as the auditor is bound to the same confidentiality as above. They could then report that what we have said is true or false but not the specifics of the service providers employed.
It is up to the estate and next of kin to decide how the rest of the body is treated and there is no difference between this and other organ donations. The body may be released to the next of kin for normal funerary arrangements if that was requested. Some cultures favour a viewing of the deceased and this is not prevented by the procedure.
The coroner may order an autopsy if they feel it is in the public interest to do so. A family may request that an autopsy not be performed and the coroner will consider the request. However, the ultimate decision rests with the coroner. If the body is autopsied it is normal that the brain is removed and sectioned which takes time, all of which is not ideal for archiving. There is also often some tissue removed. NAF can still archive in those circumstances but the veracity of information will have been compromised.
No. We may, however, perform non-destructive imaging of any brain in storage with us.
No. Our charter is purely for preservation. Also Australian law prohibits trading in human tissue.
Yes. NAF will accept donations into the NAF Research Account that pays research organisations (universities etc) to do work on areas of immediate interest to NAF. Currently donations to NAF are not tax deductible.
Contact me if you have questions about Neural Archives for yourself, family member or pet or if you would like to contribute to the development of this project or to help advance the cause in other ways . .