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film nhb-psy voorlichting

NBB-Psy is a program of the Netherlands Brain Bank. Its aim is to establish a resource of brain tissue for major psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress psychoses.

As the personal, social and economic burden of psychiatric disorders is high, there is an urgent need for better treatment strategies. This requires more understanding of how our brain works than we know today.

The use of human brain tissue provides the most direct strategy to develop and test hypotheses about the molecular and cellular basis of psychiatric disorders. iTZiT produced several films to explain what the project intends to family and patient groups.


Psychiatrists are confronted on a daily basis with the immense, personal suffering that people with a psychiatrie disorder face. But also the impact  and consequences for friends and family.

Because we still know too little about the exact processes in the brain, psychiatrists as Saskia Palms and Damien Denys are now forced to treat symptoms rather than what they really want: to resolve the underlying cause. They speak about the importance of the NHB -Psy project to achieve these breakthroughs.


Patients and family give their personal view on post-mortem brain donation. Why do they believe more research is important ? But also: what questions and doubts they have in this respect?

iTZiT interviewed Jesse, Erwin , Theo, John and Corina. Their personal stories make impact and will hopefully lead to more understanding about the need for better solutions.


The human brain is so complex that it can not be simulated by animal models or in test tubes. Although techniques like MRI are indispensable, it is still impossible to identify what exact chemical processes are disrupted .

Only by research on the cellular and molecular changes in the brain itself researcher can start to understand what happens at a detailed level. This will hopefully lead to new insights and more effective treatment methods.


Since 1985 the Netherlands Brain Bank (NBB) has performed over 3700 brain autopsies. This brain tissue, together with an anonymized summary of a donor’s medical record, is sent to scientific researchers worldwide, with the ultimate aim of increasing our understanding of the human brain and to develop therapies for neurological and psychiatric diseases.

Brain donors sign up to the donor program during life. After the donor’s demise, the body is rapidly transported to the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where the autopsy takes place within 4-10 hours. This short film explains what a brain autopsy is and how NBB causes the brain tissue is made available to research .

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