LifeGift Recovers Brain for Autism Research Study, Offering Hope to Autistic Patients and Their Families


(March 10, 2016) – LifeGift, the federally-designated organ and tissue recovery agency, which offers hope to individuals needing transplants in 109 Texas counties in Southeast, North and West Texas, today announced that it recovered its first brain to further research on Autism.

The organ procurement organization (OPO) is partnering with the National Disease Research Interchange (NDRI) to recover donor brains to help researchers at the University of Maryland’s Brain and Tissue Bank explore the behavioral causes associated with Autism, a complex disorder of brain development, that according to Autism Speaks, affects one out of 68 births in the United States.

The national study is being funded through a $500,000 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health.

"We are thankful to the donor and donor family for this precious gift that will help researchers continue to shed light on the different facets of this disorder and potentially bring hope to the many people impacted by autism," said Brian Roe, senior managing director of tissue services and communication center operations. "LifeGift is privileged to be among the nine organ and tissue recovery agencies participating in this project, which has the potential to change medical history."

The brain recovered by LifeGift is only the third one across the country to be procured for this study. The other two were recovered by the Center for Organ Recovery and Education (CORE), the OPO based in Pittsburgh, Pa.

The study will identify 15 post-mortem donors diagnosed with Autism and 15 normal donors between the ages of 2-18 years of age to explore excessive repetitive behaviors, developmental delays and deficits in communication experiences by those diagnosed with Autism, Asperger’s or other developmental disorders.

"Participation in this brain study is just one of the many research projects LifeGift is involved in," said Kevin Myer, president and CEO of LifeGift. "As a member institution of the world renowned Texas Medical Center, we continue to evolve and expand our effort to support innovative research that will benefit our local communities and beyond."


For more information about LifeGift, visit To register as a lifesaving donor, visit

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About LifeGift

Established in 1987, LifeGift is a nonprofit 501 (c)3 organization that offers hope to individuals needing transplants in Southeast, North and West Texas. A founding member of Donate Life Texas, the organization that runs the organ, eye and tissue donor registry, LifeGift services 10 transplant centers and 200 donor hospitals. It is accredited by the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) and the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB). For more information, visit,

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