Paxman will donate brain to Hammersmith Hospital

TV presenter hopes to help research to find cure for Parkinson's

Jeremy Paxman

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Newsnight and University Challenge presenter Jeremy Paxman and celebrity cook Jane Asher have both pledged to donate their brains to Hammersmith Hospital in order to further research into Parkinson's disease.

"If you register to donate your brain, you can help find a cure. After all, it's not as if you'll be needing it yourself," Jeremy Paxman said, adding that his primary motive was to encourage other people to follow his example.

"There's currently no cure for Parkinson's which affects 120,000 people." he said.

The Parkinson's Disease Society, who have a brain bank at Hammersmith Hospital in Du Cane Road, Shepherd's Bush, carried out a poll on brain donation.

The poll found 27 per cent of people have not thought about donating their brain and only seven per cent were comfortable with the idea.

Around one in 500 people, including Mohammed Ali and Michael J Fox, is affected by Parkinson's, and scientists need more brains to help find a cure.

Those with Parkinson's are encouraged to donate but experts also need brains from healthy people so they can compare their findings.

Jane Asher is the president of the Parkinson's Disease Society whose brother-in-law has Parkinsons.

She said: ""I've visited the Parkinson's brain bank and seen what fantastic work is going on there.

"Now we need a greater awareness of the benefits of brain donation so that more people come forward to register with us. Scientific research on brains both with and without Parkinson's is essential.

"It's vital that we secure more potential donors as this will help us move closer to a cure for what can be a debilitating and distressing condition."

April 23, 2009